New Delhi: Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and is learnt to have discussed the possibility of “like-minded” opposition parties fielding a common candidate for the presidential poll.
Yechury met Gandhi on Thursday at her official residence here. The meeting followed a discussion between Gandhi and Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) president Nitish Kumar on the issue on Thursday, people aware of the matter said.
“Yechury and Gandhi discussed the possibility of fielding a candidate acceptable to all secular opposition parties. Gandhi responded positively to a suggestion in this connection by the CPI(M) leader,” a member of the Left party said, on the condition of anonymity.
The CPM has also held informal discussions on the issue with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad.
“The opposition leaders are likely to meet shortly to discuss the issue formally,” one of the people cited above said.
Asked if President Pranab Mukherjee, a Congress veteran, could be fielded as the common candidate by the opposition parties, the person said, “He maybe... if all parties agreed (to the proposal). But again, it is subject to whether Mukherjee wants to continue as President.”
Mukherjee’s tenure as President is coming to an end on 24 July. He had taken over the post in July 2012, defeating National Democratic Alliance candidate P.A. Sangma. Mukherjee had secured 7.13 lakh votes against 3.15 lakh polled by Sangma.