Bhubaneswar : Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, who met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, on Thursday called out to all the Opposition parties to find a common ‘secular’ candidate for the upcoming presidential polls.
Describing his meeting with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as “positive”, Yechury said, “I had a cordial meeting with the Chief Minister. My reason to meet was to emphasise the need for a secular candidate for the future President of India. Therefore, both of us discussed that and we shall, in the future, along with all the secular forces, find a common secular candidate.”
He said that no names have been proposed, but expressed confidence of getting the support of all “Indian patriots”.
Yechury further said that talks on the same have been held with Janata Dal (United), Janata Dal (Secular), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
The Opposition’s efforts to pitch for a joint candidate for the presidential elections has been gaining ground as Congress president Sonia Gandhi has been holding meetings with various political leaders.
According to sources, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi also spoke to Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, while Sonia spoke to Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Yadav.
Last week, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Sonia held a discussion for putting up a joint opposition candidate.
So far, Sonia has held meetings with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and Communist Party of India’s (CPI) D. Raja on the same issue.
The idea of a united opposition will face a litmus test in the election, which needs to be held before July 25, the day when President Mukherjee’s term expires.