For Yashwant Sinha, Running For President, Opposition Out In Full Strength

Presidential Election 2022: Though Mr Sinha is likely to lose, several opposition leaders turned up in a show of strength and unity.

Presidential Election 2022: Mr Sinha handed over nomination papers to the Rajya Sabha Secretary General.

New Delhi:

Yashwant Sinha, the joint opposition Presidential candidate, filed his nomination today in the presence of several opposition leaders. He was flanked by Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and former Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

Addressing the media later, former Rahul Gandhi said all opposition parties were united in supporting Mr Sinha's candidature for the top constitutional post.

"Of course, we support the individual, but the real fight is between two ideologies. One is the ideology of RSS, that of anger, hatred, and the other of compassion of all the opposition parties who are standing together," Mr Gandhi said.

Echoing the sentiment, Mr Sinha called the Presidential poll "a battle between the ideology of absolute power and that of freedom".

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee, Farooq Abdullah from the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference, RLD's Jayant Sinha, CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury, DMK's A Raja, CPI's D Raja, and Telangana Minister and TRS leader KT Rama Rao were among the opposition leaders present at the Parliament house while the 84-year-old former union minister Yashwant Sinha filed his nomination as the consensus candidate from 14 opposition parties. 

Rashtriya Janata Dal's Misa Bharti, Revolutionary Socialist Party's NK Premchandran and Indian Union Muslim League's Mohammed Bashir were also present.

However, two prominent opposition parties -- Aam Aadmi Party and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha -- didn't send their representatives for the nomination. Shiv Sena representatives were also not present as they are currently firefighting internal crises.

Two big non-BJP parties -- Mayawati's BSP and BJD in Odisha -- have backed the tribal candidate Ms Murmu for the election. If elected, Draupadi Murmu will become India's first tribal President. 

Mr Sinha handed over four sets of nomination papers to Rajya Sabha Secretary General PC Mody, who is the returning officer for the Presidential election.

Mr Sinha, a former bureaucrat and a union minister during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, was decided as the joint candidate for the presidential election on June 21 at a meeting of several opposition leaders.

In a last-minute boost to Mr Sinha, the K Chandrashekhar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) this morning announced its support despite earlier reservations on the method of choosing the candidate and sharing a platform with rival Congress.

The numbers are stacked heavily against Mr Sinha and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Draupadi Murmu is most likely to win. However, today's show of strength is being seen as a significant political move from the opposition which is trying to project a united front against the BJP.

Mr Sinha has said that a "rubber stamp" President will not do and that he will be "more constitutional" if elected as President than Draupadi Murmu. He has also said that while they do not have any "personal fight" with Ms Murmu, the election is "a battle of issues to save the Constitution of India".

He said he will also reach out to his old BJP colleagues for support in the election. On his former party, he said the BJP he was part of had internal democracy, and "the current BJP lacks it".

The ruling party on its own has about 49% of the electoral college and to elect the President, one needs to cross the 50% mark.

The last date for filing nominations is June 29, and the elections will be held on July 18.

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