Mamata Banerjee Meets Sharad Pawar Ahead Of Big Meet On Presidential Poll


Sharad Pawar’s party has shot down speculation that he is in the running for the top post.

New Delhi:

Sharad Pawar today met with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Delhi amid heightened opposition activity on the Presidential polls next month.

The two leaders met a day before a big opposition meeting called by Mamata Banerjee to evolve a consensus on a presidential candidate for the July 18 election.

Sharad Pawar shared a photo of the meeting on Twitter.

“Ms. Mamata Banerjee called upon me at my residence in Delhi today. We had a detailed discussion on various issues related to our country,” he tweeted.

Mamata Banerjee arrived in Delhi this afternoon for the opposition meeting but reportedly decided to take a detour to visit Sharad Pawar before going to her residence.

The Bengal Chief Minister has called some 22 parties for the meeting. The Congress has RSVP-ed; Mallikarjuna Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Surjewala will represent the party.

Mr Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has shot down speculation that he is in the running for the top post.

“I am not in the race, I will not be opposition candidate for the President’s post,” the former Union Minister reportedly said at an NCP meeting in Mumbai last evening.

The buzz started after the Congress indicated its support for Mr Pawar as presidential candidate. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge met with the NCP leader at his Mumbai home last week, with a message from Sonia Gandhi.

But the NCP said its leader was not interested.

“I don’t think he is keen on it (contesting polls). Saheb (Pawar) is a people’s man who loves meeting people. He will not restrict himself to the Rashtrapati Bhavan,” said an NCP leader who is a minister in the Maharashtra government.

Mr Pawar, however, continues to play a leading role in the opposition consultations on the next President.

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