Race to Raisina Hill a political battle for BJP

Race to Raisina Hill a political battle for BJP

Party questions Meira's ability to be non-partisan

Race to Raisina Hill a political battle for BJP

 The BJP is taking the Presidential poll as a political battle, despite an assured victory.
A day after Union minister Sushma Swaraj questioned Opposition candidate Meira Kumar’s ability to be non-partisan after functioning as Lok Sabha speaker under the UPA regime, her Cabinet colleague M Venkaiah Naidu joined the chorus.

Naidu on Monday stated the country needs a “constitutional President” and discounted the need to drag ideology into the battle which the Opposition has been attempting from the beginning.

The minister for information and broadcasting said in Hyderabad that it was more important to have a President who believes in the Constitution as the nation just observed the 42nd anniversary of the Emergency. Taking a dig at the Congress, he recalled, “In 1975, the then President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed signed a proclamation imposing Emergency... simply on the basis of a letter written by the then prime minister and, thus, trampled upon all democratic rights of the people.”

On Meira Kumar’s appeal to the electorate to vote with their “inner conscience”, the former BJP president stated, “conscious vote is a matter of convenience for the Congress. Let us recall that it has used conscience to defeat its own official candidate Neelam Sanjiva Reddy.”

The Opposition has been targeting NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind for his RSS background. Naidu countered it by saying protection of the Constitution should be the only ideology.

Kovind, who is on a campaign tour, will meet Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar on Wednesday to seek support of her PDP MPs and MLAs in the election. The Dalit BJP leader will address PDP lawmakers at the chief minister’s residence, said party sources.

Naidu, another Union minister Jitendra Singh and BJP leader Ram Madhav will accompany Kovind in his reach out to the state BJP and PDP MLAs and MPs. The visit is planned to add to the perception that the NDA candidate is not averse to knocking on doors of the Muslim-dominant state for the election. 

The former Bihar governor will similarly visit Panchkula to interact with the electoral college members of Punjab and Haryana. Sushma and BJP general secretary Anil Jain — both from the same state — will aid Kovind in Haryana.

His other stopovers would be in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. The BJP, claim sources, is working to get two to three more parties to its side even though 28 parties have extended support to the NDA in the fight for Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Apart from NDA allies, Opposition parties such as JDU, BJD, AIADMK, TRS, YSR Congress and INLD have announced their support, making it comfortable for Kovind in the poll.

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