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Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday emerged as the consensus presidential candidate of several opposition parties, including the Congress, NCP, TMC, CPI, CPI-M, Samajwadi Party, National Conference, AIMIM, RJD and AIUDF.

Opposition leaders, who gathered at the Parliament annexe to decide on a consensus candidate for the presidential election, unanimously agreed on Sinha's name.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh while reading out a joint statement after the meeting said, "We are happy to announce that we have unanimously chosen Yashwant Sinha as the common candidate of the opposition parties for the presidential election, which will take place on July 18, 2022."

Here are a few things you need to know about Yashwant Sinha, the joint opposition candidate for the presidential poll: 

1) Yashwant Sinha, a former Indian administrator, was born in Patna on November 6, 1937. He received his master's degree in political science in 1958. In 1960, he joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).

2) He resigned from the IAS in 1984 and joined active politics as a member of the Janata Party. He was appointed All-India General Secretary of the party in 1986 and was elected a Member of the Rajya Sabha in 1988.

3) He worked as finance minister from November 1990 to June 1991 in Chandra Shekhar's Cabinet.

4) He was also a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from 1992 to 2018. He last served as the external affairs minister, from July 2002 to May 2004, in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. 

5) Sinha is widely credited for pushing through several major reform measures that put the Indian economy on a firm growth trajectory. Among them are lowering of real interest rates, introducing tax deduction for mortgage interest, freeing up the telecommunications sector, helping fund the National Highways Authority, and deregulating the petroleum industry. 

6) Sinha is a vocal critic of the Modi government. His disagreement with the Modi government and BJP on several issues led to his resignation from the party in 2018. 

7) In 2021, he joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC), and was made its national vice president.

8) Sinha, along with fellow BJP critics – former Union minister Arun Shourie and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan – filed a joint petition in the top court seeking a review of its clean chit to the Modi government in the Rafale case. The apex court dismissed all the review petitions.

9) In 2015, he was awarded Officier de la Légion d’Honneur, the highest civilian award of France.

10) The BJP-led ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is yet to announce its choice for the presidential poll slated to be held on July 18. The counting of votes will be held on July 21.

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