NCP’s Sharad Pawar NOT in President race, says ‘I have humbly declined…’

New Delhi: After declining Opposition parties’ offer to be the joint candidate for the presidential election 2022, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar on Wednesday (June 15) said he appreciates the leaders for the proposal, adding that he is “happy” to continue serving the common people. Taking to Twitter, Pawar wrote, “I sincerely appreciate the leaders of opposition parties for suggesting my name as a candidate for the election of the President of India, at the meeting held in Delhi. However I like to state that I have humbly declined the proposal of my candidature.” “I am happy to continue my service for the well-being of the common man, “ the veteran politician added. 

Ahead of the meeting of the Opposition leaders convened by her, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had met Pawar at his Delhi residence on Tuesday to convince him to fight the Presidential polls 2022. “Ms. Mamata Banerjee called upon me at my residence in Delhi today. We had a detailed discussion on various issues related to our country,” Pawar had tweeted after the meeting.

Mamata Banerjee holds Opposition leaders’ meeting to discuss Presidential polls

TMC chief Banerjee held a discussion with the leaders of opposition parties today to field a joint candidate for the presidential election 2022. At least 17 parties including Congress, Samajwadi Party, NCP, DMK, RJD and the Left parties attended the meeting at the Constitution Club of India in Delhi. However, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Odisha’s ruling BJD stayed away from the Opposition parties meeting. 

After Pawar’s rebuff,  Mamata Banerjee reportedly suggested the names of National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah and former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi as opposition candidates for the presidential poll, PTI reported. However, senior opposition leaders said that the statement was uttered in “passing” and “not seriously”.

Meanwhile, the next meeting of the leaders of the opposition parties to put up a consensus candidate for the Presidential election is likely to be held on June 20-21 and will be held by Sharad Pawar in Mumbai, PTI cited senior leaders as saying. They also said that the parties have decided to select a common Opposition candidate who will “uphold the democratic ethos of the country”. Further, the parties are likely to suggest names of leaders at the next meeting who could be widely acceptable, they said.

(With agency inputs)