A meeting of Opposition leaders called by Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to discuss a joint candidate for the upcoming presidential poll was held here on Wednesday here.
Leaders of 17 parties- TMC, Congress, CPI, CPI(M), CPIML, RSP, Shiv Sena, NCP, RJD, SP, National Conference, PDP, JD(S), DMK, RLD, IUML and JMM – participated in the meeting held at the Constitution Club of India here in the national capital.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) led by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao did not send a representative to the meeting convened by Mamata Banerjee and aimed at forging a consensus for an opposition-backed candidate.
Further, sources also informed that Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party is not participating in the meeting. Sources in the party also informed that AAP will consider the issue only after the candidate for the upcoming Presidential election is declared.
The leaders who would likely to take part in the meeting include former minister HD Deve Gowda and his son and Janata Dal (S) leader HD Kumaraswamy, Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Jayant Chaudhary and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti.
MK Stalin’s Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) was represented by TR Baalu while Shiv Sena sent Subhash Desai to attend the meeting. Samajwadi Party and National Conference will also attend the meeting.
Congress leaders earlier said that will also participate in the meeting to be held at the Constitution Club. Congress leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh, and Randeep Singh Surjewala, who are all in the national capital in a show of strength for Rahul Gandhi who was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate for the third consecutive day today, were likely to attend the meeting.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi earlier today said that he was not invited to the meeting. “I have not been invited. Even if I was, I wouldn’t go and the reason is Congress,” Owaisi said.
Mehbooba Mufti of PDP and Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party were seen at today’s meeting.
Banerjee had also sent an invitation to former BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal but it is unlikely to attend the meeting.
Communist Party of India general secretary D Raja on Tuesday said that Left parties are likely to attend the meeting. CPI-M and other Left parties are rivals of the ruling TMC in Bengal.
Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal, which has been invited, is unlikely to attend the meeting.
Banerjee had earlier written a letter to 22 leaders, including Left parties, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and chief ministers of opposition-ruled states.
The presidential election is slated to be held on July 18 and votes will be counted on July 21.