Presidential poll: Rajnath reaches out to Naveen, Mamata, other leaders

New Delhi: Ahead of next month’s Presidential election, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has spoken to several leaders from opposition parties, including Odisha chief minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik, as well as NDA partners.

Sources said that the BJP-led NDA government is trying to build consensus with the opposition to avoid an election.

Sources said that Rajnath Singh has also spoken to Congress’s Mallikarjun Kharge, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav. The Defence Minister also spoke to alliance partner and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who heads the Janata Dal-United.

It is learnt that the senior leader will also speak to NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, and leaders of other political parties.

Sources said that the BJP is trying to build a consensus on a presidential candidate and no name has been suggested to opposition leaders. “Rajnath Singh also tried to know what the opposition leaders were thinking,” a source said.

Kharge said: “Rajnath Singh called me and spoke about the Presidential polls. But when asked about the proposal, there was no response. I am saying if the opposition comes up with a non-controversial name… will the government accept that? It’s a formality.”

On Sunday, the BJP had authorised party chief J.P. Nadda and Rajnath Singh for consultation with other political parties for the Presidential election.”They will hold consultation with NDA partners, UPA constituents and even independent Members of Parliament,” the BJP had said.

(With agency inputs)

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