Sources say that the next round of discussions with the participation of opposition leaders will take place on June 21 in the parliament annex. Last week, the leaders of 17 opposition parties gathered to decide on the nomination of a single candidate.
Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee, who convened the meeting on 15 June likely to miss the next round of discussions due to previous commitments. Mamata asked Pawar to lead the organization of the second meeting.
While the leaders present at last week’s meeting were unanimous in their nomination of Pawar, the veteran leader declined the offer, stating, “I am happy to continue my service for the good of the common man.”
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At the meeting, Banerjee put forward the names of Abdullah and Gandhi as alternative candidates. But on Saturday, Abdullah also rejected the offer, leaving only Gandhi in the dispute.
Even in 2017, the opposition camp wanted to nominate Gandhi as their presidential candidate, but the NDA’s decision to choose Ram Nath Kovind as its face forced a rethink. Eventually, former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, also a Dalit like Kovind, was nominated by the opposition.