The two candidates for the Presidential election have been confirmed and the prime opposition leader is yet to be decided.
BJP’s Droupadi Murmu will be fighting against veteran politician Yashwant Sinha. The election is almost a formality as the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate is already decided to win. This is because the opposition does not have the numbers required to win the presidential election.
The opposition which was supposed to be united is not focusing on coming to power. Instead, they have chosen to fight amongst themselves for the undecided slot of, the opposition leader. The two prime candidates for this role are; Sonia Gandhi of All India National Congress and Mamata Banerjee of All India Trinamool Congress.
The opposition leader for the presidential polls would remain the opposition leader for the 2024 General Elections. At the moment, Gandhi’s Congress is the largest opposition for the BJP while Banerjee’s TMC is the second largest.
Nominations for candidates for Presidential elections
Saket Gokhale, a TMC spokesperson tweeted, “For bringing the Opposition together on a candidate for the Presidential Election, someone had to take the first step. West Bengal CM Mamata Official has done just that”. He also stated that the candidate will not be from TMC.
According to The Wire, the General Secretary in charge of Congress, K.C. Venugopal, said last week that Sonia Gandhi has been looking for a presidential candidate. For this, she was in communication with the other political giants. He said, “Two-three weeks before itself, Madam Gandhi had spoken to Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, [Sitaram] Yechury and others and clarified Congress’s stand clear.” He also stated that Gandhi was ready to go with any candidate accepted by the others.
Venugopal also stated that there was some form of miscommunication between Congress and others after Gandhi was admitted to the hospital for COVID.
Yashwant Sinha’s name was popular on TMC’s side before the June 15 meeting. This is because the leader was a member of TMC in Goa. It was Sharad Pawar who formally turned down Sinha’s name.
Following so, Sharad Pawar’s name was suggested as the candidate. It is unclear whether INC proposed his name or TMC. Venugopal stated it was not Congress.
TMC proposed names for presidency
The names of Farooq Abdullah and Gopal Krishna Gandhi were proposed as well. They were proposed by Banerjee’s party.
It was clear that TMC was trying to have the upper hand and remove Congress from the opposition to establish Banerjee as the prime opposition leader. Abdullah said, “I am grateful to Mamata Didi for proposing my name”. On the other hand, Gopalkrishna said, “Having considered the matter deeply I see that the Opposition’s candidate should be one who will generate a national consensus and a national atmosphere besides Opposition unity. I feel there will be others who will do this far better than I.”
On 21st June, Pawar announced Sinha’s name as the candidate for the presidential elections. He was faced with the question of not having the majority. To it, he said, “We are talking to right-minded parties. We hope to bring them on board.” It is expected that Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party is one of those “right-minded parties”.
All-over take on Banerjee as Prime Opposition leader
The nation has been concerned with the same concerns as Gopalkrishna Gandhi held. It is assumed that Banerjee might have put together an opposition too quickly and hence its strength is in doubt. The sole purpose of it was to edge out Gandhi. She also wanted to speak about the “bulldozing” at the June 15th meeting. This was opposed by many others.
Shive Sena was not happy with Banerjee’s choices as well. They felt Abdullah and Gopalkrishna were not heavyweight enough.
Other oppositions who remained non-allied
The Telangana Rashtra Samiti has decided not to take part in the ‘united’ opposition. This was a shocker as the TRS chief K. Chandrashekhar Rao and Banerjee share a newfound bonding. It is deduced the decision came due to Congress’s inclusion. The AAP and Akali Dal will not join in for the same reason. Owaisi is also expected to refuse any offer to join although he has not yet been offered.