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President polls: Congress set to participate in Mamata Banerjee’s opposition meet

By wasmulhaq 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The Congress is ready to take part in a meeting called by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Delhi on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming presidential polls to be held next month.

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Mallikarjuna Kharge, Jairam Ramesh, and Randeep Singh Surjewala are expected to represent the Congress at the meeting called by the Trinamool Congress leader.

The talk is in the air that the Nationalist Congress Party leader, Sharad Pawar, is one of the potential candidates. Mr Pawar has, however, told his party that he is not in the race and is ready to attend Wednesday’s opposition meeting.

Ms Banerjee had written to opposition leaders, on Saturday, requesting them to be part of the meeting. Mamata had written a letter to 22 leaders of non-BJP parties, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, to unite the opposition regarding the president’s polls.

President Ram Nath Kovind’s term will end on July 24. Elections will be held on July 18 for the next President of India and counting, if required, three days later.

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The ruling coalition led by the BJP does not have the figures for a sure-shot victory.

In 2017, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had the support of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) of K Chandrashekhar Rao, YSR Congress of Jagan Reddy, and BJD of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, for BJP’s Ramnath Kovind against the Congress-led opposition’s candidate Meira Kumar.

This time, Telangana Chief Minister Chandrashekhar Rao has been busy keeping the opposition forces on one platform to take on the BJP and its alliance.

The polls are based on an electoral college comprising votes of MLAs and MPs. The value of the vote of each MLA depends on the population of the state and the number of assembly seats. The total strength of the electoral college, thus, is 10,86,431. A candidate with more than 50 per cent of the vote will win. The NDA is 13,000 votes short.

The relationship between Congress and Mamata Banerjee has been up and down since she left the grand old party 25 years ago to found her own party, TMC.

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The landslide victory in the last year assembly polls in West Bengal  has given a morale boost to the TMC party. The ambition of Mamata Banerjee has gone up to achieve something more. The party’s mouthpiece, Jago Bangla, said the Congress had gone into a “deep freeze” and opposition has no choice except looking to Mamata Banerjee to fill the vacuum.


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