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New Delhi: The Presidential polls have turned out to be an acid test for the unity of the opposition parties with former Governor of West Bengal Gopalakrishna Gandhi, too, expressing his disinclination to be in the fray. Earlier, senior politician and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar had also turned down the proposal of some Opposition parties to be nominated for the Presidential polls.

It is now being disclosed that Pawar had opted out of the Presidential elections for a few reasons, including the absence of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao in the group of leaders which announced his name as the Opposition parties’ candidate.

The NCP leader, it was said, thinking on the same lines that of Chandrashekhar Rao, was keen to get him on board, but the Congress and Trinamool Congress did not show similar interest for this proposal. According to reports, Pawar wanted to rope in the Telangana Chief Minister for announcing a single candidate of the entire Opposition for the elections. However, the Congress and Trinamool had other plans. It is learnt that Pawar had admitted to one of his close associates that Chandrashekhar Rao had a valid point. But now it was too late, he told his party leader.

The other reason for the NCP chief to pull out of the Presidential election was the early announcement of his candidature. Premature publicity had done irreparable damage, he is reportedly said to have pointed out with his party functionaries. Health issues were also said to be among the reasons for declining the Opposition’s offer.

Further, Pawar appears to have been upset with TMC president Mamata Banerjee for skipping the meeting to be held on Tuesday. It was Banerjee, who is learnt to have suggested the date and venue for the meeting, but was eventually skipping it herself. And, this appears to have not gone well with the NCP chief.

The election process commenced on June 15 and the last date for filing nominations is June 29. As per the election notification, the polls will be held on July 18 and the counting on July 21.




Author: Howard Caldwell