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'Total Commitment to Constitution Criteria for Joint Opposition Presidential Candidate'

Impeccable secular credentials and total commitment to the Constitution will the basic criteria for choosing the joint opposition candidate for the presidential election, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.

PTI

Updated:June 2, 2017, 6:39 PM IST
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'Total Commitment to Constitution Criteria for Joint Opposition Presidential Candidate'
File photo of CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

Mumbai: Impeccable secular credentials and total commitment to the Constitution will the basic criteria for choosing the joint opposition candidate for the presidential election, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.

Declining to give any clue about the possible nominee for the highest office, Yechury said the opposition would prefer to wait till the NDA announced its candidate, adding declaring the opposition's nominee at this juncture would mean putting his or her political life at "risk".

"During our luncheon meeting with (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi, we have decided on two things. First, the candidate should have impeccable secular credentials and second, the person should be able to take decisions in accordance with the Constitution," Yechury told reporters.

Asked if the opposition parties have reached a consensus on the probable nominee, he said, "There are some candidates we are thinking about but we cannot name them until they (the NDA) name their candidate. You know what happened to L K Advani. Naming a candidate now would mean risking that person's political future."

About the farmers agitation in Maharashtra, he said there was an "agrarian crisis" across the nation.

"Today the non-performing assets of banks stand at around Rs 11,000 crore. Thousands of crore of rupees taken as loan by a handful of people are being waived by the government.

When farmers demand a rightful loan waiver, they (the government) say they do not have the money," he said. Asked about the ban on sale and purchase of cattle for slaughter at animal markets, the CPI(M) leader said it would render thousands of people jobless.

"Save cows but do not butcher Muslims and Dalits for animals. Today around 2.5 million are employed in the meat and leather industry. All of them will be ruined by the Centre's notification on cattle ban," he said.

While the BJP is busy celebrating three years of its government in office, not a single step has been taken towards fulfilling its election promises, the CPI(M) leader said.

"The BJP promised employment to 2 crore people a year, but people are losing employment. Services and the IT sector are in a mess with the biggest lay offs happening there.

Farmers were promised 1.5 times as MSP of their input costs, and on the contrary, procurement has stopped and import duty on goods has been made zero," he said.

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