No consensus, cooperation unless government gives a name: Congress on Prez poll

The first meeting between the government and the Opposition on Friday on the nominee for the July 17 presidential election ended inconclusively, without any names being discussed by the either side.

Besides the BJP allies, the ministers had earlier held talks with leaders of other opposition parties like Sharad Pawar's NCP and Mayawati's BSP to build support.

"BJP leaders did not mention any name, instead tried asking us the same.They haven't given any names, so there is no question of talks", said senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, after a 30-minute meeting between Sonia Gandhi and BJP leaders Venkaiah Naidu and Rajnath Singh ended.

BJP sources have said the NDA candidate for the top constitutional post is likely to file nomination before Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for the United States on June 25.

Sources told that the two BJP leaders on Wednesday have briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the election.

Both ministers will also hold separate consultations with Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury in the afternoon, today. The last date for filing of nomination is June 28.

Asked about the possibility of a consensus, senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who was also present, said the ministers have not given any names. No names, however, were discussed at the meeting.

"It was a preliminary meeting". The Uddhav Thackeray-led party has voted independently of BJP in last two Presidential elections.

His proximity to Advani is said to be one of the reasons for being sidelined in the party.

The TMC too, sources said, has conveyed to Gandhi that if BJP projects Sushma Swaraj or even a woman candidate, they will not be in a position to oppose.

"No finalisation of name is possible", he said adding the sub group of the opposition parties will meet in the next few days and discuss in detail by when the government would have also discussed with the opposition parties its choice.

".since no names are being given, there is no question of any discussion and cooperation".

Rashtriya Janata Dal Chief Lalu Prasad told the media that they would "remove" BJP. Azad and majority of others are willing to wait for the government's move, while Yechury is pushing for a contest.

  • Zachary Reyes