Former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi on Monday turned down the opposition parties' request to contest the upcoming presidential election. The 77-year-old is the third political person after Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah to have withdrawn their names as probable opposition nominees for the July elections.
In a statement, Mr Gandhi said several esteemed leaders of the Opposition have done him the honour of thinking of him for the opposition's candidature in the upcoming elections for the presidency.
"Having considered the matter deeply I see that the Opposition's candidate should be one who will generate a national consensus and a national atmosphere beside Opposition unity. I feel there will be others who will do this far better than I," Mr Gandhi said.
Mr Gandhi's statement comes ahead of a scheduled meeting of opposition parties in Mumbai to discuss their joint candidate for the presidential elections. His name had been suggested by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The 77-year-old former bureaucrat had also served as India's High Commissioner to South Africa and Sri Lanka. He is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and C Rajagopalachari.
The process to elect a new president began on June 15. The last date for filing of nominations is June 29. The polls, if necessary, will be held on July 18 and the counting on July.