With the Opposition seeking to put up a united fight in the presidential poll, some leaders have reached out to former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi as a possible choice, sources said on Tuesday. Gandhi was the consensus opposition candidate for the post of vice president of India in 2017 but had lost to M Venkaiah Naidu in the election.
Sources said some opposition leaders talked to Gandhi over the phone and urged him to consider their request for being the joint opposition candidate for the post of President. The sources added that some other names are also being considered and the opposition leaders have reached out to them also to seek their consent. Gandhi, who was governor of West Bengal from 2004 to 2009, has sought some time from these leaders and will get back to them by Wednesday, the sources said.
Leaders who talked to him said his initial response to their request was “positive”. The sources said if he accepts the request, he could emerge as the consensus opposition candidate for the top post since there already was consensus on his name in the last vice-presidential election.
The 77-year-old former bureaucrat has also served as India’s High Commissioner to South Africa and Sri Lanka. He is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and C Rajagopalachari. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has convened a meeting of various opposition parties to deliberate on the opposition’s choice of a presidential nominee.
Some leaders have proposed the name of NCP patron Sharad Pawar, but the veteran leader has declined to contest. The election to elect a successor to incumbent Ram Nath Kovind would be held on July 18. Kovind had defeated joint opposition nominee Meira Kumar in the last presidential poll.
With inputs from News18