BJP ex-mantri Yashwant Sinha is opposition’s choice | India News

NEW DELHI: The anti-BJP opposition bloc on Tuesday finally settled on Yashwant Sinha as its presidential nominee, describing him as “eminently qualified” to serve as the “custodian of the Constitution” and uphold the “secular and democratic character of India”.
The opposition leaders attempted to pitch the candidature of Sinha, who had handled the ministries of finance and foreign in the Vajpayee-led BJP governments, as a case of its resolve to push the current BJP government to a corner
and cut into NDA votes in the upcoming Presidential polls.
Earlier, three of the opposition’s preferred choices — Farooq Abdullah, Sharad Pawar and Gopal Krishna Gandhi — had refused to take the field.
Yashwant Sinha, who was named the opposition’s Presidential candidate, was an IAS officer before he quit the service to join Janata Party. He then migrated to BJP. Though one of the strong votaries for Narendra Modi to be declared the PM candidate before the 2014 elections, Sinha later turned into a critic of the Prime Minister and BJP before quitting the party and active politics. Sinha, however, returned to the arena to join Trinamool Congress on the eve of the 2020 Bengal polls, with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee appointing him as one of the vice-presidents of her party.
Though Sinha’s name had figured among the options from the beginning as a presidential candidate, anti-BJP parties seemed more comfortable with other names. On Tuesday, however, the very reasons for which Sinha’s name had originally caused discomfiture in the opposition group — his decades-long association with BJP and then
with TMC — appeared to melt away into nothingness as the opposition found itself with few options and lesser time in which to identify a candidate to pitch against the NDA nominee in the presidential polls.
Despite the assertions of complete unanimity, it remained clear that the conditions for accepting Sinha’s candidature — that he should resign from TMC and contest as an Independent — was never imposed on NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar or NC’s Farooq Abdullah.
The opposition remains well short of numbers against the ruling NDA, which is just short of a majority in the electoral college that will elect the next President. However, the opposition hopes to make up for the shortfall by the optics of an ideological fight and feel that an articulate Sinha and with his current hostility to BJP fits the bill.
There is also a faint hope that some players like JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar will break away from the ruling alliance, like he did during the 2012 presidential polls, when he voted in favour of UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee. Opposition leaders are expected to have fence-sitters on speed dial as they begin campaigning for Sinha.

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