The government is expected to announce its presidential candidate by June 20. (Representational)
New Delhi: The meetings today between Prime Minister Narendra Modi's three-member team and the three key opposition parties, the Congress, the CPM and CPI, did not throw up any name. The three parties indicated that the two Union ministers - Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu - wanted the opposition's cooperation. "The government says they have the mandate. The opposition should vote in favour of government nominees," Mr Yechury said after the meeting. In the morning, Mr Singh and Mr Naidu had a 30-minute meeting with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. The two ministers also met party veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi to keep them informed, party sources said. The government is expected to announce its candidate by June 20 after discussion with party chief Amit Shah, sources said.
Here are the 10 developments on this story:
"We asked if they have a candidate. We have many names," said CPM leader Sitaram Yechury. "The government says they have not yet zeroed on any candidate. This is a political contest... barring once there has always been a contest."
After the ministers' meeting with Sonia Gandhi, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said there was no question of consensus "when they have not given any names". The two leaders, it appeared, had come to only to meet and seek cooperation not consensus, he said.
Mr Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad had been present at the meeting of the Union ministers with Sonia Gandhi. In South, the TDP and the AIADMK have said they will back Prime Minister Narendra Modi's choice.
The Shiv Sena, which first supported NCP chief Sharad Pawar and then Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of BJP's ideological mentor RSS, today cited another name - 91-year-old MS Swaminathan, who is known for his huge role in Green Revolution.
The two Union ministers - Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu -- are part of a three-member team formed by PM Modi and Amit Shah to evolve a consensus on the Presidential candidate. The third member of the team is finance minister Arun Jaitley.
CPI's D Raja has said Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu will meet them at their party office later today. Mr Naidu is also expected to meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar and BSP's Mayawati.
While a section of the opposition wants to take a call on fielding a separate candidate only when the NDA names its Presidential candidate, the Left is known to be keen on a token election.
The opposition wants a candidate who will respect and uphold the Constitution and have a non-RSS background.