Samajwadi Party desires a politician in the presidential nominee

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A key constituent of the Opposition camp, the Samajwadi Party (SP), on Sunday asked the ruling BJP that its presidential nominee should be a political person. Other member of the camp — Mamata Banerjee-led TMC — insisted that the BJP should first disclose the name of its presidential nominee as consultations with the Opposition on the issue without a name will only be a futile exercise.

Another opposition party, CPI(M) had earlier demanded that only a candidate with an “impeccable secular credentials” should be the next President of the country.

Ahead of the July 17 presidential election, the BJP has been holding consultations with the Opposition parties on the issue, sans NDA’s presidential candidate’s name.

Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, who spoke to SP’s Ramgopal Yadav and Naresh Agarwal, was told that the BJP should opt for a political person as its nominee. Both the SP leaders insisted that the BJP should disclose its nominee’s name. Interestingly, SP patriarch Mulayan Singh Yadav, who was unceremoniously shifted to the role of mentor by his son Akhilesh Yadav, had earlier this week assured his party’s support to the NDA nominee only if he/she is not a strong saffron face and acceptable to all.

Mr Naidu along with his colleagues — finance minister Arun Jaitley and home minister Rajnath Singh — are members of a party panel formed to consult parties to evolve a broad consensus on the issue.

Mr Jaitley, sources said, spoke to TMC supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her Odisha counterpart and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik. Both the leaders, it was learnt, asked the BJP to first decide its Presidential nominee before the two parties take a decision on whether or not to support.

Mr Naidu also met NDA ally LJP’s chief and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who assured him of his party’s support to the BJP’s choice.