In a massive development, former Union Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Yashwant Sinha has been declared the Opposition's Presidential candidate on Tuesday. The confirmation comes hours after Sinha tendered his resignation from the Mamata Banerjee-led outfit, stating that he is stepping down to work for 'greater opposition unity.'
Sinha on Tuesday shared a tweet that read, “I am grateful to Mamataji for the honour and prestige she bestowed on me in the TMC. Now a time has come when for a larger national cause I must step aside from the party to work for greater opposition unity. I am sure she approves of the step."
I am grateful to Mamataji for the honour and prestige she bestowed on me in the TMC. Now a time has come when for a larger national cause I must step aside from the party to work for greater opposition unity. I am sure she approves of the step.— Yashwant Sinha (@YashwantSinha) June 21, 2022
Making the announcement, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, "We (opposition parties) have unanimously decided that Yashwant Sinha will be the common candidate of the Opposition for the Presidential elections." He further urged appealed to all Opposition parties to support the candidature and ensure the senior leader wins unopposed.
Discussing the support of other political outfits, NCP chief Sharad Pawar revealed that the RJD, TMC, Shiv Sena, AAP and TRS had extended their support to Sinha. The parties will file Yashwant Sinha's nomination on June 27, 11.30 AM.
Notably, in the first Opposition meeting, three names were discussed- Sharad Pawar, Farooq Abdullah, and Gopalkrishna Gandhi. However, all three of them have refused. Pawar had reasoned that he would be "happy to continue his service for the well-being of the common man" while Abdullah had cited the "critical juncture" Jammu & Kashmir was passing through, and how his efforts were required to help navigate "these uncertain times", as the reason. Gandhi on the other hand had said that the Opposition's candidate should not be the one who would ensure "unity among the parties", but the one who would generate a "national consensus and a national atmosphere". Ultimately, parties began gravitating towards Sinha's name.
Yashwant Sinha, who has been the vice president of the Trinamool Congress, has served as India's finance minister (under Chandra Shekhar's and AB Vajpayee's Prime Ministership) and foreign minister (under Vajpayee's Prime Ministership). In 2018, he quit the BJP and joined TMC.
As the term of President Ram Nath Kovind is ending on July 24, an election to fill this impending vacancy will be held on July 18. The President will be elected by the Electoral College comprising elected members of both Houses of Parliament and the Legislative Assemblies through a secret ballot. June 29 is the deadline for filing nominations for the presidential elections. The polling is scheduled to take place on July 18 and the counting of votes will be on July 21. As Ram Nath Kovind's term ends on July 24 and the next president should be elected before that day.