Yashwant Sinha: a former Union minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government, was today made the joint opposition candidate for the presidential election. The BJP is yet to announce its selection for the July elections.
“In the upcoming presidential elections, we have decided to elect a common candidate and prevent the Modi government from doing further damage. In a meeting held today, we have chosen Yashwant Sinha as a common candidate. We are from all political parties. Appeal to vote. Yashwant Sinha,” Congress communications chief Jairam Ramesh said while reading out a joint statement by the opposition.
The joint statement appealed to the BJP and its allies to support Mr. Sinha’s candidature so that the nation can get an “unopposed president elected”.
Earlier in the day, Mr Sinha, the Trinamool leader, gave a big hint about his candidacy, when he said he should “step away” from the party to work for greater opposition unity.
“I am grateful to Mamta ji for the respect and prestige she has given me in TMC. Now a time has come when for a bigger national cause I should quit the party to work for greater opposition unity. I am sure That’s what she accepts. Kadam,” he tweeted.
Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah had earlier refused to run for the presidency.
The BJP will also hold a parliamentary board meeting today where it is likely to finalize its choice for the presidential election.
The process of electing the new president had started from June 15. The last date for filing nominations is June 29. If necessary, elections will be held on July 18 and counting of votes on July.
Who is Yashwant Sinha?
Yashwant Sinha’s professional career has been a roller-coaster ride – from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) to the Janata Party, then the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and then slipping into oblivion. As a member of the BJP for a long time, Sinha served in several ministries, but finance was known to him.
Sinha also held that portfolio in Chandrashekhar’s cabinet (from November 1990 to June 1991), before becoming Union finance minister in the first full-fledged government of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) that took power in 1998. Later, he was the Finance Minister in the first three years of Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1998 to 2002).