Kanimozhi invites Sonia for Karunanidhi’s birthday amid unity talks

New Delhi, May 6 Amid talk of opposition unity ahead of the Presidential elections, DMK leader Kanimozhi on Saturday met Congress President Sonia Gandhi here and invited her for her father and DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s 94th birthday celebrations in Chennai.

Karunanidhi’s birthday on June 3 is likely to be attended by leaders from several opposition parties, including JD-U leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader D. Raja, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan may also attend.

Kanimozhi said her meeting with Sonia Gandhi did not have a “political agenda”, but added that if opposition parties come together then it will emerge as a “stronger voice”.

“I came to invite leaders from other parties also for the birthday celebrations. I brought a letter from our working president M.K. Stalin to be delivered to her (Sonia) and we discussed about that,” Kanimozhi told NewsX.

“Definitely this is a meeting of a lot of leaders. But, this is not bringing anything else together. It is just to bring people together with good wishes for my father’s birthday.”

“People are talking to each other about the President’s election. but this is not an agenda in this function,” she said when asked if the function was meant to be a platform to showcase opposition unity.

Asked if the opposition candidate will be able to make the cut in the election, Kanimozhi said: “I don’t know. I don’t think there has been any decision which has been reached. So let us wait. It’s a little to early to answer these questions.”

“There are some important issues like in Tamil Nadu where we are opposing the NEET examinations. If the opposition comes together it will be a stronger voice on particular issues. But, where it is going to go, is a little too early to comment about it,” said Kanimozhi to a question if the opposition unity is necessary.

She also said that invitations have been extended to those who were closely associated with Karunanidhi.

Sonia Gandhi has initiated the process of bringing opposition parties together ahead of the presidential elections in July and evolve a consensus on a common candidate. The move is also being seen as a precursor to the possibility of opposition parties coming together to take on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Gandhi has over the past few days met Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar, National Conference’s Working President Omar Abdullah
Janata Dal-United leader Nitish Kumar and Communist Party of India-Marxist chief Yechury and spoken to Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad.

She is likely to meet West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, DMK leader M.K. Stalin and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati.

The term of President Pranab Mukherjee will end in July. The BJP-led NDA appears to have an advantage as it has a comfortable majority in the Lok Sabha and rules many of the bigger states.

The electoral college for the election of President consists of elected members the two Houses of Parliament and members of the legislative assemblies.

The value of vote of MP is the same but value of votes of MLAs differs from state to state based on the population.

The total value of votes of the members of legislative assembly is 5,49,474. Value of each vote of MP is 708 and the total value of votes
of 776 parliamentarians is 54,908.

The total value of 4,896 electors for the presidential election comes to 10,98,882.

The presidential election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. The winning candidate has to secure 50 percent of valid votes polled, plus one.

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