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Rajnath, Venkaiah Naidu to meet Sonia Gandhi today over prez polls

New Delhi: Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and M Venkaiah Naidu will meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi and CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury at 11am in Delhi on Friday, to discuss matters related to next month’s presidential election.

Both the Union Ministers have already spoken to Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Praful Patel and Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Satish Mishra.

“The minutes of the meeting will be discussed with the rest of our party and the sub-committee that has been set up ahead of the polls. We will consider the opinion of all,” Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge told ANI.

Denying reports of the Congress supporting Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Chief Mohan Bhagwat, Kharge asserted that being a secular party, Bhagwat will not be furthered as a suitable candidate for the post of President.

“We are a secular party. We will never support Mohan Bhagwat; neither will the other parties. His name is being recommended by the Shiv Sena. We don’t know what their connection is with the BJP. However, we will choose a candidate from a secular party,” he said.

Recently, Sonia Gandhi met various leaders from opposition parties to give a tough fight to the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government’s candidate for the post of President.

Also, Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) president Amit Shah had formed a three-member committee, consisting of Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, M. Venkaiah Naidu and Arun Jaitley for consultations with the opposition over likely candidates for president.

Earlier this week, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said on Wednesday, adding that he had exchanged views with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and it had been decided that they would talk to different parties.

Naidu said, “We exchanged views today, and will be talking to different parties regarding the same.”

“On June 17, the Finance Minister will come back. We will exchange information with him and move forward”, he added.

As President Pranab Mukherjee’s term comes to an end on July 24, the Presidential election will be held on July 17.

The Election Commission said the last date of nomination is June 28 and the counting of votes will be taken up on July 20.

President Mukherjee will demit office on July 25 and Vice President Hamid Ansari will complete his second tenure in August.

ANI