Consultation process in both the BJP and the Opposition camps shifted into high gear today as filing of nominations for the presidential election began. The ruling party's three-member panel reached out to its allies as well as rivals while the Congress-led Opposition parties, too, held a meeting but maintained that no names were discussed for the presidential poll. They will meet again, most likely after the BJP discloses the name of its candidate. BJP sources have said the NDA candidate for the top constitutional post is likely to file nomination before Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for the US on June 25.
The last date for filing of nomination is June 28. Union ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Rajnath Singh, two members of the panel apart from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, will meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Friday as part of efforts to evolve a broad consensus on the presidential candidate. Naidu today spoke to TDP chief and BJP ally N Chandrababu Naidu and leaders of some regional outfits in southern India. He also called up Satish Mishra of the Mayawati-led BSP and Praful Patel of the NCP, headed by Sharad Pawar. Mishra and Patel represented their parties later in the Opposition's meeting. No names were discussed in the meeting as Opposition leaders met to chalk out their strategy for the presidential election scheduled for July 17, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said. He said the 10-member Opposition panel would meet again to decide on a suitable presidential nominee. He, however, did not give any timeframe. Sources said the leaders would discuss names, but await a government initiative in this regard. Opposition leaders like Sharad Yadav have made it clear that they will put up a joint candidate if the saffron party picks a nominee with strong Hindutva leanings. On the first day, six persons, including a man and his wife, filed nominations. All the nominations filed are liable to be rejected as none had the mandatory 50 proposers and as many seconders from among the electors.
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