New Delhi, June 16, 2017: Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu and Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday met Congress President Sonia Gandhi at her residence in Delhi to discuss a consensus with opposition parties on India’s new President. Their meeting lasted 30 minutes.
Singh and Naidu, who are part of the three-member team constituted by Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah for discussion with political parties reached 10 Janpath around 11 a.m.
— ANI (@ANI_news) June 16, 2017
Soon after the meeting, Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told media that ” BJP ministers did not give us any name, instead asked us for a name. We were expecting them to suggest a name. Then we would have discussed that within our own party and with other opposition parties.”
Saying that the BJP leaders met Gandhi seeking cooperation in the presidential poll, both Azad and party leader Mallikarjun Kharge said unless the government named a candidate there was no question of cooperation or consensus.
“Since there was no name suggested from the government, there is no question of cooperation or discussion,” said Azad.
“They are seeking cooperation and what I can make, they have got something in their mind, that is why they have not given any name and are seeking cooperation. But unless they give a name there can’t be any question of consensus or cooperation,” Kharge added.
Before the meeting, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge told media that “The minutes of the meeting will be discussed with the rest of our party and the sub-committee that has been set up ahead of the polls. We will consider the opinion of all.”
Later, the BJP panel’s will be meeting CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury.
Both the Union Ministers have already spoken to Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Praful Patel and Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Satish Mishra.
Earlier, Naidu also spoke to NCP chief Sharad Pawar, and ally TDP’s chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu as part of its exercise to evolve a consensus on a presidential candidate.
Sources said Pawar told Naidu that he would be in Delhi for the next couple of days for the talks, while Chandrababu Naidu told him that his party would stand by the Prime Minister’s decision on the issue.
The election to the post of President would be held on July 17. The votes would be counted on July 20.