Published On : Wed, Jun 14th, 2017

Rajnath Singh, Venkaiah Naidu to meet Sonia Gandhi over consensus Prez candidate

New Delhi: A three-member Bharatiya Janata Party panel set up to consult political parties on selecting a consensus candidate for the upcoming presidential poll will meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday.

After meeting Gandhi, the panel of three ministers will also meet Communist Party of India-Marxist’s Sitaram Yechury, sources close to Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu said in New Delhi.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Naidu were appointed by BJP president Amit Shah on June 12 to hold talks with opposition parties and allies in a bid to select a consensus candidate for the poll.

The sources said Naidu had already spoken with Praful Patel (Nationalist Congress Party) and Satish Chandra Misra (Bahujan Samaj Party) on this issue.

Patel and Misra, who are expected to meet the panel shortly, are said to have assured Naidu their parties would take a call on a candidate after talks with the BJP panel.

The notification for the July 17 polls was issued today, beginning the nomination process for the election. The last date for filing papers is June 28.

After prolonged silence on the issue, Shah constituted the three-member committee for consultations with the National Democratic Alliance allies and the opposition on the issue. Leaders of opposition parties are meeting this afternoon to chalk out a joint strategy for the presidential poll.

The opposition’s 10-member sub-group is meeting for the first time after it was set up recently.

Sources said the opposition leaders will discuss possible names for the post of the President, but will await the government’s initiative on this matter before taking a final decision.