Press Trust of india

Oppn candidate in presidential polls Yashwant Sinha holds first campaign strategy meeting

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New Delhi: The opposition candidate in the July 18 presidential polls, Yashwant Sinha, held his first campaign strategy meeting on Wednesday at the NCP office here and said a “rubber-stamp president” will not work in the country.
Talking to reporters, Sinha said the presidential election is not an individual battle but a fight for the issues plaguing the country.
“I am thankful to all the political parties that have given me the opportunity in the presidential polls. I am glad that these parties have given me that credibility. This election is not an individual fight for me. There are issues that the country is facing on which the electoral college has to take a decision,” the former Union minister said.
The BJP-led Centre is moving on a road that is not good for the country, youngsters are suffering and now, the “joke” that the government has played on unemployment with the “Agniveer” scheme for military recruitment, the entire country is up in arms, he said.
“The president’s post is extremely sensitive and I will not be under pressure from the government,” he added.
Sinha will file his nomination for the presidential polls on June 27 and is most likely to begin campaigning from Jharkhand and Bihar.
“We will be going to various places in the country to campaign…. We are formulating a strategy on that. I congratulate Droupadi Murmu, but this is not me against her — this is an ideological contest. We should not have a rubber-stamp president in the country,” he said.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has named Murmu, a tribal leader from Odisha, as its candidate in the presidential polls.
Later, in a statement, Sinha (84) said the leaders of one ideology are hell-bent on throttling the Constitution.
“They believe India’s Rashtrapati should not function with a mind of her or his own and should merely serve as a rubber stamp to do the government’s bidding. I am proud to belong to the other ideology that is determined to save the Constitution and the Republic,” he said.
Leaders like KK Sharma (Nationalist Congress Party), Jairam Ramesh (Congress) and Sudheendra Kulkarni were present at the meeting on Wednesday.
In the statement, Sinha said if elected, he shall conscientiously uphold, without fear or favour, the basic values and guiding ideals of the Constitution.
“In particular, as the custodian of the Constitution, I shall not allow the light of democracy and secularism to be dimmed by the executive. I shall not allow the independence and integrity of democratic institutions to be weaponised against political opponents, as is happening now. I shall do my utmost to ensure that the majesty of Indian Parliament will remain safe from attacks by the forces of authoritarianism,” the former Union finance minister said.
He further alleged that the ongoing attacks on the federal structure of the Constitution, whereby the Centre is “attempting to rob the state governments of their legitimate rights and powers”, will be treated as totally unacceptable.
“I shall also use the authority of my office to check the menacing power of ill-gotten money that is killing the soul of Indian democracy and making a mockery of people’s mandate in elections. India is currently going through extremely difficult times. I shall raise my voice for the common people — kisans, workers, unemployed youth, women and all marginalised sections of the society,” Sinha said.

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