Presidential election 2017: Ruling BJP at the Centre and Opposition led by Congress have been holding meetings to decide the next President of the country. It has been learned that Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan could be a contender for the next head of state, according to Indian Express report. Along with Mahajan, Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu. Mahajan has been asked to stay back in Delhi for a week, the report says. The process for filing of nominations had started yesterday after the official notification for the presidential poll was issued. The poll will be held on July 17 and counting will take place on July 20. Pranab Mukherjee’s term ends on July 24.
The BJP had already today stepped up its efforts to get maximum support for its presidential candidate. The party’s three-member party panel had spoken to a number of allies as well as opposition parties, amid indication that its nominee will file nomination next week. According to PTI report, the NDA candidate for the top constitutional post is likely to file his nomination before Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for the US on June 25. They ruled out filing of nomination by its candidate this week as the consultation process will take more time with Union ministers Rajnath Singh and M Venkaiah Naidu, two members of the BJP panel, scheduled to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Friday as they work to evolve a consensus. They are likely to meet Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M) following the meeting with Gandhi.
Meanwhile, the Opposition has already reached out to Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopal Krishna Gandhi. It has been learned that he has agreed to be its joint candidate. Former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar is also being considered while JD(U)’s Yadav is said to be interested, too, according to Indian Express report.
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Naidu yesterday spoke to Anbumani Ramadoss of the PMK, N Rangaswamy of the All India NR Congress, Satish Mishra of the BSP and Praful Patel of the NCP, the report said. He will also speak to most of the regional outfits from south India. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will be speaking to leaders such as Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar, while Singh may confer with West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee. The home minister is also likely to speak to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
Amid consultation among political parties, the BJP has given little indication of its choice for the top post. Opposition parties have made it clear that they will put up their own candidate if the saffron party chooses somebody with strong Hindutva leanings.
The arithmetic in the electoral college favours the NDA, which has 48.6 per cent votes of its own. It is also expected to get support of the TRS, which rules Telangana, the YSRCP of Andhra Pradesh and the AIADMK, which is in power in Tamil Nadu.