Hyderabad: A "secular" candidate is the need of the hour for the president's post and opposition parties would "certainly" field a nominee, CPI General Secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said on Tuesday.
The BJP on Monday announced Bihar Governor and Dalit activist Ram Nath Kovind as the NDA's nominee for the top constitutional job.
However, the opposition parties seemed not impressed with the government's decision and sought to keep up the suspense on extending their support.
"Yes, we are certainly going to have a candidate. We are trying to build a consensus because several parties may have different names. So, of these, who is more acceptable to most of the parties will be decided there," he told News Measurements.
The opposition parties are meeting on June 22 to decide on fielding a consensus candidate for the presidential election, he said.
The CPI leader said their opposition is not individually to Kovind, but on principles.
"Our objection is not individually for him. We don't support anybody either because of his caste or religion or any such thing," he said.
A "secular" candidate for the president's post is the need of the hour against the backdrop of attacks on Dalits and minorities since the NDA government assumed office, he said.
"In a situation when there are so many attacks on Dalits and minorities throughout the country, we feel a secular candidate is more important to heal the present injury to the nation," Reddy said.
"That's why we suggested such a step should be taken.
Unfortunately, they (BJP) did not take it. They have put up their own candidate. So, we have decided to oppose it," he said.
Reddy indicated that the name of former Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, which was discussed as a joint opposition candidate, may not figure now.
"Gopalakrishna Gandhi's name was put (forward) in a different situation. At that time, we wanted the BJP to adopt it. Now, when the opposition has to decide, we have to decide from a different angle," he said.
He refused to spell out any names as they have not been discussed among opposition parties.