Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Monday said that he will not be the Opposition’s candidate for the president’s post, The Times of India reported.

“I am not in the race,” he told his party leaders.

In the last two days, several media reports had suggested that Opposition parties may name Pawar as their candidate for the president’s post.

On Sunday, Nana Patole, the chief of Maharashtra’s Congress unit, had said that his party will support Pawar if his name is proposed for the president’s post, Loksatta reported.

Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh had spoken to Pawar on Monday.

Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee had also met the Nationalist Congress Party chief at his house in Delhi earlier on Tuesday, according to ANI.

On June 11, Banerjee had invited leaders of 19 political parties, including the Nationalist Congress Party, to a meeting in Delhi on Wednesday to discuss the presidential election.

The West Bengal chief minister had said that the election gives the “perfect opportunity for all progressive Opposition parties” to discuss the future course of Indian politics. “At a time when our democracy is going through troubling times, I believe that a fruitful confluence of opposition voices is the need of the hour,” she had said.

The Congress had at the time said that discussions among Opposition parties needed to be “open-minded” and that the time was ripe to rise above their differences.

Party leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Singh Surjewala will attend the meeting on Wednesday, NDTV reported citing unidentified sources. Pawar will also reportedly attend the meeting.

The presidential election is scheduled for July 18 and the votes will be counted on July 21.

The president is elected by the members of the electoral college consisting of MPs from both Houses of Parliament and MLAs of all states, including the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry.