BJP, Opposition Parties To Hold Crucial Meets For President Pick

BJP was hoping to avoid a contest by fielding a candidate everyone can come on board with.

New Delhi:

Even as the opposition is yet to choose its candidate for the Presidential polls, the BJP will hold its parliamentary board meeting today where it’s likely to finalise its pick for the elections to be held on July 18. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to join the meeting virtually and the BJP has already formed a 14-member management team to oversee the election. With just over a week left in the deadline for nominations, both sides are trying to zero in on candidates with popular support.

The BJP had earlier decided to name its presidential candidate by the end of this week. The ruling party on its own has about 49% of the Electoral College and to elect the President, one needs to cross the 50% mark.

Party president JP Nadda and Union Minister Rajnath Singh have been entrusted the overall responsibility of coordination with NDA as well as UPA allies and other non-NDA, non-UPA allies to cobble up support to cross the halfway mark. These two leaders have been reaching out to many parties. The BJP also formed a sort of a ‘crack team’ which has many Union Ministers as well as senior functionaries who are also doing their own bit of coordination, speaking to various potential candidates. 

In typical BJP style, everything is hush and ‘top secret’. The Prime Minister too is likely to attend the parliamentary board meeting. It is not yet known whether he will attend it in person or virtually. 

After the meeting, there will be consultations with the ‘crack team’ where the PM will be informed of the options and numbers will be discussed. There is also a very strong possibility that the parliamentary board may meet again.

Meanwhile, hectic parleys are going on in the opposition camp. 

Mamata Banerjee is skipping the opposition meeting later today and her nephew and Trinamool leader Abhishek Banerjee is likely to attend. Three candidates have so far turned down the request to be the joint opposition’s presidential candidate. NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Jammu & Kashmir National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, and MK Gandhi’s grandson Gopal Krishna Gandhi have so far turned down the offers.

Opposition leaders of 17 parties are set to meet at the residence of Sharad Pawar today to strategise for the Presidential election, news agency ANI has reported.

The last date for filing nominations is June 29, and the elections will be held on July 18. 

The BJP was hoping to avoid a contest by fielding a candidate who everyone can come on board with.

There are many names being speculated but just like in 2017, the BJP may spring a surprise as is its usual operating method. In the political circles, there is also this theory that this time a tribal may be elevated to the position of the President. 

There would however be no certainty until the two sides formally announce.

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