NEW DELHI, June 14 - Opposition leaders today met to chalk out a strategy for the upcoming presidential poll but no names were discussed in the first round of talks of a nine-party sub-group set up for the purpose, members said.
As the process for the filing of nominations for the July 17 election started, 10 opposition leaders met in the Parliament chamber of the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The leaders including Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge from the Congress, JD-U�s Sharad Yadav, RJD�s Lalu Prasad, CPI-M�s Sitaram Yechury and NCP�s Praful Patel. Derek O�Brien of the TMC, RS Bharathi of the DMK, Ram Gopal Yadav of the SP and Satish Chandra Misra from the BSP were also present at the 10 -member group�s meeting.
Azad said leaders of 17 opposition parties had met at a lunch hosted by Congress president Sonia Gandhi last month, where it was decided a sub committee would be set up to take forward discussions on the issue.
�A sub committee was formed in which leaders of nine parties were included, as there was need for a smaller committee,� he said.
This was the first meeting of the group today.
�The nitty gritty details were not discussed. No names have been short-listed yet,� he said after the 30-minute meeting.
The ruling party has formed a three-member committee to discuss the possibility of a consensus candidate with allies and opposition parties. Azad said it had started contacting opposition leaders.
�The process has just started. In such conditions, the selection of a final candidate is impossible. In the next few days this sub committee will meet again and probably we will hold detailed discussions then,� he said.
The BJP panel comprising Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and M Venkaiah Naidu has reached out to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Yechury, BSP�s Misra and NCP�s Patel and would be meeting the leaders of these parties separately to discuss the issue of a joint candidate.
The panel would meet Gandhi on Friday.
Azad said by the time the 10-member group meets, the ruling party would have consulted opposition leaders, who would then be in a better position to discuss candidates. � PTI