Accusing the BJP of unilateralism, the Congress on Monday said opposition parties will meet on Thursday and decide their strategy regarding the Presidential polls.

The Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, refused to go into the merits and demerits of the NDA candidate, Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, announced by BJP President Amit Shah earlier in the day.

Azad also did not say whether or not the opposition will field a candidate for the July 17 contest.

“So far as the NDA nominee is concerned, the Congress has nothing to say on the merits or demerits. All the opposition parties had collectively decided on evolving a consensus on the Presidential candidate when leaders of 18 parties met recently,” Azad said. 

He said the opposition did not expect this “unilateral” decision by the BJP to name Kovind.

“When (Home Minister) Rajnath Singh and (Information and Broadcasting Minister M.) Venkaiah Naidu met (Congress President) Sonia Gandhi, we had expected some names from them for discussion. But they gave no names. We had full hope that before announcing they would discuss some names.

“Yes, they did inform us but only after they had decided on the name.”

He said the meetings with opposition parties was a formality.

“The only thing I would like to say is that we expected that before taking the final decision on a candidate, they will come back to us and other opposition parties.

“The opposition parties were given to understand that they will be taken into confidence. It is the BJP’s sweet will and we cannot help that.”

Azad said all leaders in the opposition had agreed to attend the June 22 meeting to be chaired by Sonia Gandhi to take a final decision on the President’s election.