With the Bharatiya Janata Party parliamentary board announcing Bihar Governor Ramnath Kovind as its presidential nominee, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said the decision was influenced by 'political contest' as Kovind is from the ranks of RSS.
"Kovind ji was the chief of RSS's Dalit branch. So somewhere it is a political fight or contest. We are not commenting and giving any character certificate to anyone," CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury told the media here.
Yechury further said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) senior leaders had said that they would seek Opposition parties' consent on the name of the Presidential candidate which didn't happen.
"All presidential candidates are non controversial. It is not a new qualification. The point is this is a political fight. When Home Minister Rajnath Singh and I&B minister Venkaiah Naidu came to meet us, they said that they want to build a consensus. When we asked on whom they want to build consensus, they had no answer then. They said that when they decide, they will come back to us with a proposal. But instead of coming to us with the proposal they announced the candidate. Now we will take a call," he added.
Meanwhile, the Congress also rebuffed the NDA's move saying that the decision was taken without their consensus.
"During the meeting the senior leaders of the BJP had said that they will inform us before any announcement for a consensus, but they informed us after taking the decision. The Centre apprised the senior leaders, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh about the announcement over phone after taking the decision. So there is no question of mutual consent," senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told the media here.
Asserting that the decision was one sided and taken without mutual consent, Azad further said that the grand old party would not comment on NDA's Presidential nominee as of now and would meet on June 22 to formally discuss the matter.
"The Congress party doesn't want to comment on the name of the candidate announced by the NDA government. We only want to say that we had expected that before they take the final decision on the candidate they will come back to us and other political parties to build consensus first. But that doesn't happen," he said.
He further said that the meetings which were called by the BJP to discuss the Presidential nominee's name with the opposition parties were mere a formality and PR exercise.
The parliamentary board of the BJP met here today to discuss the upcoming presidential election.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari and M. Venkaiah Naidu and other senior party leaders deliberated on the names for the top constitutional post.
The election for the next President of India is to be held on July 17 as President Pranab Mukherjee will demit the office on July 25.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) issued the notification in this regard and the process of the nomination has started that will continue till June 28.