NEW DELHI : As part of her party's efforts to evolve consensus among opposition parties on a common candidate for upcoming Presidential election, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday spoke to Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad. Gandhi, who has taken the initiative to try and evolve consensus on a common candidate, is likely to meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi also reached out to Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in connection with the presidential polls. National Conference's Working President Omar Abdullah also met Sonia Gandhi at her residence on Wednesday, said party sources.
"In our opinion, national interest should be the foremost criteria with a person adequately suited to defend our constitutionalism and our democratic traditions of dissent and disagreement as the candidate who would be best suited to be the President and Vice President," said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.
"Congress President and Vice President both have had discussions with a series of leaders. Our doors and minds are open for we feel that one person cannot decide everything, one man decides all dictum will not do and one ideology cannot be thrust upon this country. It is required to have a consensus on the post as important as the posts of President and Vice President," he added.
He also said that consensus on the candidates will happen only after there are political discussions and there is a general agreement on this.
"We need an unbiased and courageous President who can uphold the diginity of his office. It should be done for national interest," he added.
Earlier, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar met Sonia Gandhi to discuss a joint opposition presidential candidate.
Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal-United President Nitish Kumar and senior party leader Sharad Yadav, Communist Party of India leader D. Raja and Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury have also met Gandhi on the presidential issue.
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