Gopalkrishna Gandhi, former West Bengal governor and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, on Monday issued a statement declining Opposition parties’ request to become their joint candidate for the upcoming Presidential election.
A statement issued by the former diplomat said while he was grateful for being considered for the highest office, he felt the Opposition’s candidate should be someone who will generate a national consensus and that he felt there were others who could do this better than him.
The former Bengal governor’s statement came amid reports that he was the frontrunner as the Opposition’s pick for the Presidential post after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar and National Conference (NC) leader Farooq Abdullah declined the offer.
Opposition parties were likely to meet on Tuesday and take a decision on a consensus candidate as the race for the Rashtrapati Bhavan neared.
Gopalkrishna Gandhi said that after considering deeply the offer, he urged Opposition leaders to give the opportunity to a person who would be able to create unity among these parties. “May India get a President worthy of the office presaged by Rajaji as the last Governor General and inaugurated by Dr Rajendra Prasad as our first President,” he wrote.
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“Several esteemed leaders of the Opposition have done me the honour of thinking of me for the Opposition’s candidature in the upcoming elections for the highest office of Rashtrapati. I am most grateful to them. But having considered the matter deeply I see that the Opposition’s candidate should be one who will generate a national consensus and a national atmosphere beside Opposition unity. I feel there will be others who will do this far better than I. And so I have requested the leaders to give the opportunity to such a person.”
Last week, a meeting of Opposition parties convened by Trinamool Congress supremo and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had failed to take a decision on the matter.
The Presidential election is set to be held on July 18 and the votes will be counted on July 21.
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