Speculation is mounting that the opposition is coming together to put up a unified candidate for the Presidential polls.

Rahul Nitish Pawar Lalu and others to be part of Karunanidhis bday not just a party
news Politics Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 13:51

As the grand old man of Dravidian politics turns 94, the country’s top opposition leaders will gather in Chennai on June 3 to celebrate the birthday of DMK President M Karunanidhi.

The function, which will pay tribute to Karunanidhi for also completing 60 consecutive years as a legislator, will be held at the YMCA ground in Royapettah. Those on the guest list include Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, former Bihar CM and ex Union Minister Lalu Prasad, former Jammu and Kashmir CM Farooq Abdullah, CPI (M )General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI Rajya Sabha MP D Raja, NCP chief and MP Sharad Pawar, TMC whip Derek O’ Brien, IUML Chief Kadar Mohideen, and Puducherry CM Narayanaswamy, confirmed DMK Working President MK Stalin recently.

But conspicuously absent from the VVIP guest list are BJP leaders, who have not been invited for the programme, triggering speculation that there is more to the meeting than the birthday party. With Presidential polls due in July, speculation is rife that the opposition parties from across the spectrum are coming together to put up a joint candidate.

“Anything can happen on the sidelines of the meeting. But it is a coincidence that Presidential Elections are around the corner,” said a source in the DMK to TNM. Going on to explain the reason behind the BJP not getting an invite, the DMK leader pointed out, “Pon Radhakrishnan has spoken about destroying Dravidian ideology. With such venomous views, why should we invite such people? It is an embarrassment to our leader.”

Incidentally, among the names discussed for a unified opposition candidate is former West Bengal Governor and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who also happens to live in Chennai. CPI (M)'s Sitaram Yechury had, on May 19, confirmed that Gandhi had been approached to be the joint opposition candidate, stating, “Presidential elections are very crucial, as the President’s role is paramount for secular supervision of the Constitution. Our intention is for the candidate to be jointly sponsored by all the Opposition parties.” He added, “The ruling party usually announces the candidate first and tries to build a consensus for unanimous election. There is no such effort by the BJP. We have a doubt that it could result in communal supervision of the Constitution.”

The other possible candidates include NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who is attending the meeting, former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav.

Meanwhile, the chief guest of the party wIll, in all likelihood, sit out of the celebration owing to his poor health, with Stalin stating, “As of now there is no chance of Karunanidhi participating in the function. But if the doctors treating him allow him to participate, he will."

 

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