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Presidential Polls: Day Before Big Opposition Meet, Mamata Meets NCP Chief Sharad Pawar in Delhi

Day before the big opposition meeting, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee met NCP supremo Sharad Pawar on Tuesday for a discussion over the presidential elections. She was likely there to convince the veteran leader to be the joint opposition nominee for the polls next month.

But, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said Pawar shot down the offer to be the candidate. The leaders had met earlier in the presence of CPI general secretary D Raja, as well as NCP leaders Praful Patel and PC Chacko to convey to them his decision to not contest the election.

Pawar downplayed his meeting with Mamata and said they discussed details on “various issues related to our country”. He tweeted: “Ms. Mamata Banerjee called upon me at my residence in Delhi today. We had a detailed discussion on various issues related to our country. @MamataOfficial”

The presidential elections are to be held on July 18. Mamata has called an opposition meeting to reach a consensus over a joint candidate for the polls. The opposition has decided to put up a joint candidate despite not having the numbers. The United Progressive Alliance has a little over 1,50,000 votes from MPs as well as MLAs. Opposition candidates in the past, too, have got a little more than three lakh votes.

The Trinamool Congress also shared details of the meeting on Twitter, saying the “resolve to fight divisive forces grows stronger”. “Our honorable chairperson @MamataOfficial met Shri @PawarSpeaks today. Two stalwart leaders set the stage for the meeting of all progressive opposition forces; set to happen tomorrow at the Constitution Club, New Delhi. Our resolve to fight divisive forces grows stronger!”

Some 22 parties will get together for the meeting. The Congress will be represented by senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Surjewala.

(With PTI inputs)

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