The BJP-led NDA is comfortably placed for the July 17 presidential polls with a majority of votes on its side, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said. No one can “blackmail” the ruling party ahead of the election, Fadnavis told reporters during an interaction last night. He said the NDA at present had 54 percent of the total votes in its favour and suggested more parties were “ready to cooperate” with the BJP, taking the tally of votes to 65 percent. However, the chief minister did not name the parties. The electoral college for the presidential polls is 11,04,546 votes.
Fadnavis made the remarks when asked about the Shiv Sena — the BJP’s ally in the Centre and in the state government — insisting on fielding RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat as the NDA’s nominee for the election. Bhagwat himself has rejected the proposal. “The UPA had only 37 percent votes when Mr (Pranab) Mukherjee became president, whereas we already have more than 50 percent votes with us. So, there is no problem (for the NDA) and nobody can blackmail us,” Fadnavis said without naming the Shiv Sena or any party.
In the previous presidential poll held in 2012, Mukherjee had secured 7,13,763 votes as against 3,15,987 polled by his rival P A Sangma. President Pranab Mukherjee completes his five-year tenure on July 25.