Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha filed his nomination for the July 18 presidential elections on Monday. The Opposition’s presidential candidate will contest the elections against the National Democratic Alliance’s Droupadi Murmu.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and other leaders were present in Parliament to support him. Senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Jairam Ramesh along with Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s A Raja were also in attendance.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in the presidential polls, the real fight is between two ideologies – the hatred of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the compassion of all Opposition parties standing together, according to PTI.

On June 21, Sinha was named as the Opposition parties’ candidate for the presidential elections. Hours later, Murmu’s candidature was announced.

A day later, Sinha said that he has great regard for Murmu and had interacted with her when she was the governor of Jharkhand.

He also said that the presidential election is not a contest between individuals but a battle between two opposing ideologies.

Sinha added that “leaders of one ideology” are hellbent on throttling the Constitution and want the president to merely serve as a rubber stamp.

If elected, Sinha said, he would uphold the basic values and guiding ideals of the Constitution without fear or favour.

Murmu filed her nomination on Friday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, members of the Union Cabinet and chief ministers of NDA-ruled states were present on the occasion.

The last date for filing nominations is June 29. The votes for the presidential election 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.

TRS to support Sinha

Meanwhile, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti on Monday announced that it has extended its support to Sinha for the upcoming polls.

Telangana Rashtra Samiti working president KT Rama Rao made the announcement on Twitter.

The announcement came days after Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had opted out of a meeting led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to discuss a joint strategy for the presidential elections, NDTV reported.

The Trinamool Congress chief had invited leaders of 19 political parties, including the Congress, for the meeting in Delhi on June 15.

“There is no question of sharing any platform with the Congress,” K Chandrasekhar Rao had then said, reported NDTV.

His party had said it was against the idea of fielding an Opposition presidential candidate.

“In this case, the candidate was already chosen, and the candidate’s opinion was taken, after which the meeting was called,” the party had said. “Why was it done this way? The right procedure would have been to hold meetings, arrive at a consensus, take the candidate’s approval, and then announce the name after a meeting.”