• Saturday, June 25, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Indian opposition fields former finance minister Yashwant Sinha in presidential election

Yashwant Sinha (Photo: PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images).

By: Shubham Ghosh

FORMER Indian finance minister Yashwant Sinha, who had worked under the prime ministership of Atal Behari Vajpayee in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but quit it later to join the Trinamool Congress (TMC), has been unanimously chosen by the opposition parties as their candidate for the July 18 presidential election.

The 84-year-old Sinha, who has also served as India’s foreign minister under Vajpayee, is a strong critic of prime minister Narendra Modi and severed his ties with the BJP after failing to agree with the current government on various issues.

The veteran leader, who will file his nomination papers for the election on June 27, said it was time for him to step aside from party politics and work towards a larger national interest. The opposition had floated a number of names for the top post but none of them agreed to take up the challenge before Sinha okayed it.

“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,” Sinha tweeted, thanking Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of the eastern Indian state of West Bengal and the supremo of the TMC and one of the fiercest critics of Modi.

Banerjee also congratulated Sinha in a tweet and called her a man of “great honour and acumen, who would surely uphold the values that represent our great nation!”

Sinha was backed by other opposition parties, including the Indian National Congress, the Left, the Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party, National Conference, Rashtriya Janata Dal, etc.

Among those who refused to contest the presidential election on the opposition parties’ tickets were Sharad Pawar, Farooq Abdullah and Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi.

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