All eyes on BJP

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on June 07, 2017

With dates for the Presidential election being announced, all eyes are now on the ruling BJP.

Opposition parties have been urging the Centre to come up with a nominee so that a consensus could be evolved on the candidate for the top post.

They have been holding negotiations with each other, authorising NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and former JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav with the parleys. Congress President Sonia Gandhi has been anchoring these discussions.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik have also been in touch with Opposition leaders on the issues. The Opposition has maintained its preference for a political person with impeccable secular credentials for the top post.

However, the Opposition is unlikely to win if they put up a candidate of their own. There are 4,896 voters in the electoral college for the Presidential election, and a total of vote value of 10,98,882. The ruling NDA is about 20,000 short of the 5,49,442 required for a majority. It has more than five lakh votes, including those of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Shiv Sena and People’s Democratic Party.

The BJP has been trying to divide the Opposition on various Bills in Parliament. “It all depends on the social background of the BJP’s candidate. If the person is from socially backward caste groups, the Opposition unity may not last much,” said a senior Opposition MP privy to the discussions.

For the post of Vice-President, who is elected by MPs of both the Houses, the Opposition does not have any hope. CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters after a meeting of his party’s Politburo that the Opposition would put up a candidate for the Vice-President’s election, too.

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Published on June 07, 2017
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