With Presidential elections on their mind, leaders of 17 political parties on Friday attended a luncheon meeting called by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, CPI-M's Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D. Raja, DMK’s Kanimozhi and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav were among those who attended the meeting.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, former PM Manmohan Singh and other senior Congress leaders, including Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad and A.K. Antony are also part of the meeting.
The leaders will informally discuss a joint candidate for President to take on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance’s nominee.
The meeting is seen as a show of strength by the opposition parties on the day that the Modi government completes three years in office.
Among the names being considered by the Opposition as its joint nominee for the Presidential polls are that of former Bengal Governor and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopal Krishna Gandhi and former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has suggested a second term for President Pranab Mukherjee whose term ends in July.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar didn’t attend the meet, while AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was not invited, it is learnt.