INDIA. Mumbai: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar declined the offer to contest the election of the President of India, as a common Opposition candidate, in a meeting held in New Delhi on Wednesday.
“I sincerely appreciate the leaders of opposition parties for suggesting my name as a candidate for the election of the President of India, at the meeting held in Delhi. However, I like to state that I have humbly declined the proposal of my candidature,” Pawar said in a tweet.
The election for the 16th President is planned to take place on July 18, with the incumbent President Ram Nath Kovind’s term expiring on July 24.
The counting of votes, if needed, will be done and the result will be declared on July 21. Voting will not happen in the case of a consensus candidate. The election notification was issued on Wednesday.
The NDA may not re-nominate Ram Nath Kovind for the second term. Rajendra Prasad was the only President to get two full terms as president. Both the opposition and ruling party have not been able to name their candidates yet.
On Wednesday in a meeting called by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Pawar declined the offer, Then Banerjee, proposed the names of National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi as nominees for the July elections. Gandhi is also the Left’s suggestion. However, Farooq Abdullah’s son Omar Abdullah asked not to discuss the names for the Presidential polls.
A second meeting of the opposition parties is expected to be convened by Sharad Pawar on June 20 or June 21.
Leaders of 16 parties- Congress, CPI, CPI(M), CPIML, RSP, Shiv Sena, NCP, RJD, SP, National Conference, PDP, JD(S), DMK, RLD, IUML, and JMM – participated in the meeting called by Banerjee, over presidential polls. They included Akhilesh Yadav, Mehbooba Mufti, Sharad Pawar, Mallikarjun Kharge, TR Baalu, and Subhash Desai (Shiv Sena).
As against this, the NDA may consider Kerala Governor Mohammad Arif Khan, former Jharkhand Governor and tribal leader from Odisha Draupadi Murmu, Chhattisgarh Governor and tribal leader Anusuiya Uikey, Telangana Governor Tamilsai Soundararajan, Karnataka Governor and Dalit leader Thawar Chand Gehlot, former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, and Odisha’s tribal leader Jual Oram as its candidate. However, as per indications, the NDA may consider a tribal candidate this time.
The President of India is elected by the elected members of both Houses of Parliament and elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of all states and the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
For the selection process, 50 MPs must propose to the candidate, followed by another 50 seconds for the candidature. The election for the President is generally held by a secret ballot and a single transferable vote is used per the system of proportional representation.