BJP forms three-member panel to reach out to other parties on President poll

BJP forms three-member panel  to reach out to other parties on President poll
The BJP on Monday formed a three-member panel of senior union ministers to hold consultations with other parties for reaching out "consensus" on the Presidential candidate with the filling of nominations to begin from June 14.
 
The committee, comprising Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and M Venkaiah Naidu, will "consult leaders of different political parties over the presidential poll and try to evolve a consensus," the BJP said in a statement released on Monday. With the BJP constituting its panel, it has scotched buzz about one of the ministers being in the race for Rashtrapati Bhavan. Though, the vice president election is still open.

In view of the Presidential election, BJP president Amit Shah has postponed a planned visit to Arunachal Pradesh. The BJP is also likely to defer its national executive meeting at Visakhapatnam, scheduled for July 15-July 16, for the same reason.

Party sources said though internal meetings are taking place on securing numbers required for the presidential elections, about the choice of candidate only Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are aware. Outside structured consultations have not taken place so far, added party sources.
 
The last date for filling nominations is June 28 for the poll which would take place on July 17 as President Pranab Mukherjee's five-year term would come to an end a week after that.

The politics on the presidential elections is hotting up as at least nine opposition parties will hold a meeting on Wednesday to finalise their strategy on naming a candidate for the contest in the absence of consensus. Congress, Left, TMC, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, JD(U), RJD, NCP and DMK have formed a sub-group to come up with a combined opposition strategy for taking on the ruling NDA in the poll for the post of president.
 
The Opposition parties are waiting for the NDA to announce its own choice before they open their card but BJP sources said that the declaration of the face for the battle may happen at a time leaving little room for political manoeuvring. A candidate bearing social moorings would be hand-picked for the presidential election to send a strong message in the country.

Opposition parties feel the BJP panel may come up with a consensus candidate

With the BJP setting in motion the process to select a Presidential candidate, a section of the Opposition parties now feel that the government side may come up with a name acceptable to them.
 
They believe the constitution of the committee with Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and M Venkaiah Naidu as members is a positive sign. The “moderate panel”, as some of the opposition leaders put it, is expected to come up with a “moderate” candidate whom the opposition could also support.
 
Sources said Congress could also agree if the BJP-led NDA comes up with a candidate from the Dalit or tribal communities. The Opposition camp feels that the BJP may look for candidates like a former Chief Justice.
 
The opposition expects that the BJP panel could throw names like that of Draupadi Murmu, former Governor S C Jamir and even Kerala Governor and former Chief Justice of India P Sadasivam as a Presidential candidate.
 
However, this may not mean that there will be no contest as the Left parties may field its own candidate for the Presidential polls in a redux of 2002 when it fielded Captain Laxmi against A P J Abdul Kalam, who got support from the then ruling NDA and most of the Opposition, including Congress. Though the ruling side have enough numbers, the entire socialist parties may break ranks with opposition to vote if BJP fields former socialist Hukum Narain Yadav as its Vice Presidential candidate.


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