Presidential Election 2017: The race to Raisina Hill has become exciting. Both the ruling NDA and Opposition parties have so far failed to come up with the names of their respective candidates for the Presidential Election 2017. However, several names have been doing the rounds. The Election Commission of India opened the process of filing nomination for the election of the fourteenth President of India on Wednesday. The last date of filing nomination is June 28, while the election will be held on July 17 and results will be announced on July 20. As President Pranab Mukherjee’s term is set to end in July, the BJP-led Centre and Congress-led Opposition parties have intensified their search for a suitable Presidential candidate. However, the July 17 election will not take place if both camps manage to come with a consensus candidate.
Earlier, senior BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were also reported to be in the race for the Presidential election 2017. However, with the opening of Babri Masjid conspiracy case against them, it is unlikely that Modi-Shah duo would risk nominating either of them as the NDA candidate to replace President Mukherjee.
Here we take a look at the top 10 probable candidates, whose names have been doing the rounds and reported by media:
Sumitra Mahajan could be a contender for the President’s post from the NDA camp, Indian Express reports. An MP from Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Mahajan is at present the Lok Sabha Speaker.
Metroman E Sreedharan has also been reported as a possible NDA candidate for the election. Considering Modi government’s penchant for surprises, Sreedharan may emerge as the surprise candidate for the post from the ruling camp. The exclusion of Sreedharan’s name from the list of VVIPs to be present on the dais along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate Kochi Metro had created a huge uproar in political cricles as well as on social media. Sreedharan is known for leading the successful Delhi Metro project and now the Kochi metro to be inaugurated on Saturday by PM Modi.
While the PMO has now inlcuded the Metro Man among the list of dignitaries, India Today reported on Friday that the PMO may have deliberately excluded his name. Reason: There is a strong possibility of his name being announced as NDA’s Presidential candidate, the report said.
Firstpost reports that former deputy speaker in Lok Sabha, the tribal leader from Jharkhand, Kariya Munda has emerged as the prospective candidate. Munda, 80, has decades-old ties with the RSS and he is known for his simple lifestyle. At present, Munda continues to live in a mud house in Khunti, Jharkhand, according to the report.
Draupadi Murmu is also one of the lead contenders for the post from the NDA camp, IE revealed. Murmu is at present Jharkhand Governor. She is also the first tribal woman appointed as Governor in India.
Swaraj has emerged as a top NDA Presidential candidates probable, according to a News18 report. Swaraj is the External Affairs Minister and a very popular figure for her proactiveness in protecting Indian citizens’ interests across the world. Swaraj is also one of the senior most leaders in the BJP and previously Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha.
Thawar Chand Gehlot
Union Minister of Social Justice, Thawar Chand Gehlot is a Dalit leader from Madhya Pradesh. Several reports have claimed in recent weeks that Gehlot is the leading contender for the post from BJP camp. Gehlot reportedly has the support of RSS as well. However, a Firstpost report claimed today that Gehlot’s may become NDA’s Vice-Presidential candidate as BJP wants to install a Tribal-Dalit duo as the President and Vice-President of India.
Some reports suggest that filmstar Rajinikanth could be fielded by the BJP for the Presidential election. Rajinikanth is arguably the biggest movie star in India and popular across the country, not just for his films but also for his humility.
Former Lok Sabha speaker Meera Kumar’s name has been doing the rounds as the Presidential candidate from the Opposition camp. Kumar is a Congress leader from Bihar.
Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson and former West Bengal Governor, Gopalkrishna Gandhi has emerged as the leading candidate to be fielded by the Opposition in the Presidential election. He is also a public intellectual and celebrated author.
The name of former JD(U) chief as a consensus candidate for the post from the Opposition camp has also been doing the rounds.