Mumbai: In a significant development, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Monday has told his party ministers and senior leaders that he is not keen to be the opposition’s candidate for Presidential candidate. However, Pawar said that he will speak to opposition and like-minded parties for fielding a unanimous candidate against BJP. Pawar and NCP MP Praful Patel will attend a meeting of opposition and like-minded parties called by Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on June 15 to discuss the upcoming Presidential election and future course of action including putting up a serious candidate against the BJP nominee.
An NCP Minister, who was present at the meeting chaired by Pawar in Mumbai, told the Free Press Journal, ‘’Our party president today made it amply clear that he is not prepared to be the opposition’s Presidential candidate. Instead, he has said that he will engage in a dialogue with the opposition and like-minded parties to firm up a united strategy and a consensus candidate for the Presidential election against BJP. Our president also said that NCP has very few MPs and legislators in the country and the party will support the candidate finalised by the opposition and like-minded parties.’’
Pawar and Patel will be in Delhi on Tuesday and Wednesday. Pawar has lined up a series of meetings with leaders from the opposition and like-minded parties.
Pawar’s decision is crucial especially when the NCP’s ally Congress party in Maharashtra and Aam Aadmi Party have extended their support to Pawar as the opposition’s Presidential candidate.
NCP since last year has clarified that reports of Sharad Pawar being a candidate for the presidential election were baseless. Pawar after his meeting with poll strategist Prashant Kishor in June 2021 had said, ‘’it is absolutely false" that he will be a candidate for the Presidential election.
Further, Pawar had said that BJP has more than 300 MPs in Lok Sabha alone. ‘’I know what will be the result, given the party that has more than 300 MPs. I will not be a candidate of the Presidential election,’’ he added.