The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Wednesday said its leader Sharad Pawar has declined the offer of Congress President Sonia Gandhi to be the opposition candidate in the presidential election.
“In last month’s meeting, Sonia Gandhi had asked Pawar saheb to be the opposition candidate. However, he refused. He said ‘I should not be considered’,” NCP’s national spokesperson Nawab Malik said.
Malik added that Pawar had already said in the past that he was not interested in contesting the election.
Gandhi has taken the initiative to talk to leaders of opposition parties to field a consensus candidate.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called on Gandhi on Tuesday to discuss a consensus candidate for the presidential election.
Gandhi has spoken to Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad and met JD-U leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah.
The term of President Pranab Mukherjee ends in July. The ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, which has clear edge in the presidential election, has not given any inkling so far on its choice of candidate.