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Nitish meets Sonia Gandhi; talks grand alliance, presidential poll

Published on 21 Apr. 2017 12:36 AM IST
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Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday met Congress president Sonia Gandhi here with the view to discuss larger opposition unity to take on the BJP in future elections, as well as the upcoming presidential polls.
Janata Dal-United leader K.C. Tyagi described the meeting as a “courtesy call” but also said that Gandhi should take a lead in forging opposition unity for the presidential elections in July.
“JD-U wants that for the presidential polls, Mrs Gandhi should take the lead in fielding a united candidate of the opposition,” Tyagi said.
The presidential elections are due in July when the term of President Pranab Mukherjee will end.
Tyagi said during the meeting, Kumar, who is also JD-U president, enquired about Gandhi’s health as she had been unwell for some time. Asked about the possibility of a tie-up for the Gujarat assembly polls due later this year, Tyagi said there has been no proposal from the Congress so far.
He said the ruling grand alliance in Bihar will be strengthened further. The Congress is a partner in the ruling alliance in Bihar that includes JD-U and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
Kumar has in the past stressed on a grand alliance of opposition parties and said that Congress should take the initiative of bringing all major non-BJP parties on a single platform to defeat the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
He had also said that lack of a Bihar-like grand alliance was mainly responsible for the BJP’s victory in Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.
CPI (M), CPI favour  common oppn nominee
Top leaders of the CPI(M) and CPI met here today to discuss the possibility of “like-minded” opposition parties fielding a common candidate for the presidential poll. The term of President Pranab Mukherjee is coming to an end on July 24.
“We discussed the possibility of fielding a consensus candidate for the poll. We don’t have any formal proposal before us right now, but we welcome this suggestion,” CPI general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said.
Reddy said the CPI(M) and the CPI will discuss the idea with other left, secular and democratic opposition parties. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, his predecessor Prakash Karat, politburo members Brinda Karat and S R Pillai attended the meeting held at the CPI(M) headquarters here.
From the CPI, its national council secretaries D Raja, Atul Kumar Anjaan, Amarjeet Kaur and Shamim Faizi took part in the meeting, besides Reddy.
The leaders also discussed holding a national-level ‘anti-communalism’ convention in the light of the alleged renewed aggressiveness of the RSS/BJP, Reddy added.
Yechury too had yesterday expressed the need for the opposition parties to field a consensus candidate for the election to ensure “secular supervision” of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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