Presidential Election 2017: Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA and the Opposition led by Congress president Sonia Gandhi have managed a strange secrecy over the choice of their respective candidates for the Presidential Election 2017. The secrecy maintained by both camps has, however, increased people’s curiosity about the upcoming election.
On Wednesday, the Election Commission of India opened the process of filing nomination for the election of fourteenth President of India. The last date of filing nomination is June 28. The election will be held on July 17 while results will be announced on July 20. With President Pranab Mukherjee’s term set to end in July, both the Centre and Congress-led opposition parties have intensified their search for a suitable Presidential candidate.
The Presidential election will take place only if the government and the Opposition fail to find a consensus candidate. The likelihood of finding a consensus candidate is high as the Opposition had earlier put the onus of suggesting the name of such candidate on the Centre. On Wednesday, reports said senior BJP leaders and Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu, who are part of the three-member committee constituted by the BJP to pick a candidate for the election, will reach out to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Friday to discuss about the upcoming Presidential poll. They will hope to arrive at a consensus on the issue.
Sources told ANI that both Singh and Naidu on Wednesday briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the upcoming election for the top post of the country. The also said the NDA candidate is likely to file the nomination papers on June 23. Naidu said he had exchanged views with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and hence, would talk to different parties. “We exchanged views today, and will be talking to different parties regarding the same,” Naidu told ANI. “On June 17, the Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley) will come back. We will exchange information with him and move forward”, he added.
On Wednesday, Opposition leaders from 17 parties, including the Congress, CPM, CPI, TMC, RJD, JDU met in Delhi to select a common candidate for the presidential poll. Some of the leaders participating in the Opposition meet were Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad Yadav, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, TMC leader Derek O’Brien, Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav, BSP’s Satish Chandra Mishra, DMK leader R.S. Bharathi and NCP’s Praful Pate. However, they didn’t announce the name of their candidate.
A PTI report today said the Centre and a small group of Opposition parties have intensified their efforts to zero-in on a “mutually-acceptable” Presidential candidate. In case they fail to reach a consensus, both groups would field separate candidates.
Earlier this week, BJP chief Amit Shah had formed a three-member committee, consisting Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Venkaiah Naidu and Arun Jaitley for consultations with the Opposition over candidates for the Presidential elections. Recently, Sonia Gandhi had met Opposition leaders in Delhi to give a tough fight to the Centre in the upcoming poll.
Several names have been doing the rounds as probable candidates of either camps.
From the NDA camp, names like Central ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Sushma Swaraj, Thawar Singh Gehlot, senior BJP leaders LK Advani, MM Joshi, Lok Sabha chairman Sumitra Mahajan, Jharkhand governor Draupadi Murmu and Metro man E Sreedharan have been doing the rounds in media reports. In the Opposition camp, probable names include JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, fromer Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi and former Lok Sabha chairman Meera Kumar. However, as both camps look for a consensus candidate, President Mukherjee getting a second term cannot be ruled out yet.