New Delhi: Joint Opposition presidential candidate Yashwant Sinha on Monday filed his nomination papers here, accompanied by senior Opposition figures, including Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar and former Congress president Rahul Gandhi. The TRS also announced its support for Mr Sinha on Monday morning. TRS leader K.T. Rama Rao tweeted: “President of trspartyonline Sri KCR Garu has decided to extend support to the candidature of Sri Yashwant Sinha Ji in the election for President of India. Along with our Members of Parliament, I will be representing the TRS at the nomination today.”
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Trinamul Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee, NC president Farooq Abdullah, RLD’s Jayant Sinha, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, DMK’s A. Raja, CPI’s D. Raja and Telangana minister and TRS leader K.T. Rama Rao were among the Opposition leaders who were present at Parliament House as 84-year-old former Union minister Yashwant Sinha filed his nomination as the consensus candidate from 14 Opposition parties. RJD’s Misa Bharti, Revolutionary Socialist Party’s N.K. Premchandran and IUML’s Mohammed Bashir were also present.
Speaking to the media afterwards, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said: “We support the individual, but the real fight is between two ideologies. One is the ideology of the RSS, that of anger and hatred, and the other of compassion of all the Opposition parties who are standing together.”
Interestingly two prominent Opposition parties, the Aam Aadmi Party and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, did not send their representatives for the nomination filing. Shiv Sena representatives also did not attend as they are busy firefighting its own internal crisis.
Addressing the media, Mr Sinha said that the consensus among the Opposition parties over his candidature was “a good sign”. Saying that the Opposition had come together to field a unanimous candidate, he further added: “During the nomination, I also agreed that this will not stay only till the presidential polls but will go far. We will contact every leader on the government’s side as well. I have already called the PMO and left a message that I want to talk to the Prime Minister. But so far, I have received no calls. I called Rajnath Singh and he called me back. I’ll reach out to all my friends in the BJP too.”
Mr Sinha stressed that the fight was about ideology. He said: “Asaduddin Owaisi has assured me of his support. I also plan to speak to other Opposition leaders, including the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and the JD(S). Before now, I never heard that the candidate was from the ST community. It is not a contest of individuals but a contest of ideologies. It is not a fight of identity but a fight of ideology.”
The numbers are stacked heavily against Mr Sinha and the National Democratic Alliance candidate, Draupadi Murmu, is most likely to win.
The Opposition parties on Monday formed an 11-member nationwide campaign committee for their candidate Yashwant Sinha. Altogether, 10 representatives of political parties -- including Jairam Ramesh of the Congress, Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M), Praful Patel of the NCP -- and a member of civil society will be a part of the committee.