Kolkata: Tiramool Congress (TMC) vice president Yashwant Sinha announced on Tuesday morning that he is stepping aside from the party for a 'greater opposition unity'.
He said in a tweet, "I am grateful to Mamataji for the honour and prestige she bestowed on me in TMC. Now a time has come when for a larger national cause I must step aside from the party to work for greater opposition unity. I am sure she (Mamata Banerjee) approves of the step."
As per reports in all probability, Trinamool will propose the name of the party's national Vice President and former Union minister Yashwant Sinha.
Instead of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, her nephew and Trinamool's national General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee will attend the meeting convened by Pawar on Tuesday.
"Proposals have come from a couple of parties to propose the name of Yashwant Sinha as the probable opposition candidate for the Presidential poll. However, everything will depend on the proceedings of Tuesday's meeting and depending on the names suggested by the other parties at the meeting," a top leader of
Trinamool Congress said on condition of anonymity.
Sinha, a retired IAS officer, had served first as the Union Finance Minister and then as the External Affairs Minister in the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
He quit the BJP in 2018 before joining Trinamool Congress in 2021. He was appointed as the party's national Vice President just before the Assembly elections last year.
On June 15, Trinamool had convened an opposition meeting in Delhi where the name of Sharad Pawar was proposed as the unanimous opposition candidate. However, Pawar had turned down the offer.
Mamata Banerjee then proposed the names of National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdulla and former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi as the two probable names. However, both Abdulla and Gandhi have turned down the offer.
(With inputs from agencies)