Presidential Polls: You are the first choice, Mamata Banerjee tells Sharad Pawar

Pawar has politely declined the request hinting that he does not want to retire from active politics yet

Sanjay JogUpdated: Tuesday, June 14, 2022, 10:47 PM IST
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Presidential Polls: You are the first choice, Mamata Banerjee tells Sharad Pawar |

Mumbai: Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday during his meeting with the Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reiterated that he is not the opposition’s candidate for Presidential election.

However, Pawar, who was accompanied by his confidant and party MP Praful Patel, made a strong case for opposition and like-minded parties to come together and bury the hatchets to put up a strong and formidable candidate against the BJP.

As reported by the Free Press Journal, Pawar pulled out from the race despite the Congress, the TMC, the AAP and the Shiv Sena backing his name as Opposition candidate. Tuesday’s interaction between Pawar and Banerjee took place ahead of a meeting convened by the Trinamool Congress chief on June 15 to take forward the discussion on the joint candidate.

An NCP MP told the Free Press Journal, ‘‘Mamata requested Pawar to be the Opposition’s candidate saying that he enjoys a good rapport and friendship with leaders across the board, which is crucial at this juncture. Besides, the TMC chief argued that Pawar is highly respected and can shore up the Opposition numbers.

However, Pawar has politely declined the request hinting that he does not want to retire from active politics yet and, more importantly, NCP needs him for its growth and consolidation.’

Further, the NCP MP said, ‘‘Pawar explained that NDA has 48.9% votes and it will surely succeed in winning over Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy with 4.2% votes and Odisha CM Navin Patnaik with 2.9%. Together, NDA has 56% votes. However, the opposition has only 44% votes. Pawar pointed out that the numbers are with the NDA and not with opposition.’’

However, Pawar told Mamata that Opposition and like-minded parties will figure out a strong candidate. ‘’Mamata insisted that the proposed candidate should be capable of uniting all opposition parties,’’ said NCP MP.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil has said his boss (NCP chief) is at ease among people and how much he will be inclined to become Opposition’s presidential nominee is not known. ‘’Ultimately, the party chief and senior leaders will take a final decision,’’ he noted.

However, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut claimed Pawar, who is a known administrator, is a fit candidate for the post of President. ‘‘BJP has to take a call whether it wants a rubber stamp or an able administrator like Sharad Pawar as the President,’’ he noted.

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