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Presidential Polls Updates: As Opposition Struggles to Pick Candidate After 3 Rejections, BJP Likely to Finalise its Nominee Today


While the Opposition seems to be in a bit of a struggle to pick their candidate for the Presidential polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to hold its parliamentary board meeting in Delhi on Tuesday where it is likely to finalise its nominee for the election slated to be held on July 18, sources said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to join the meeting virtually.

The BJP parliamentary board meeting comes a day after party president JP Nadda held a key meet on Sunday to brainstorm on the upcoming election in which members of the management team were present.

ALSO READ: President? No, Thanks, Says Bihar CM Nitish Kumar As He Rules Himself Out of the Race

Meanwhile, with three of its probable presidential candidates declining to contest, leaders of Opposition parties will meet in Delhi on Tuesday afternoon to finalise a joint nominee for the Presidential election. NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, NC chief Farooq Abdullah and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi have so far turned down the offer to be Opposition’s Presidential polls candidate.

Track latest updates on Presidential polls here:

-BJP likely to pick its presidential candidate today, say sources

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will hold its parliamentary board meeting in Delhi on Tuesday to finalise its pick for the election slated to be held on July 18, sources said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to join the meeting virtually.

The BJP has already formed a 14-member management team to oversee the election. Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is the convenor of this team.

BJP chief JP Nadda held a key meet on Sunday to brainstorm on the upcoming election where members of the management team were present. The meeting was attended by senior leaders like Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Ashwini Vaishnaw, G Kishan Reddy, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Vinod Tawde, CT Ravi, Sambit Patra and others.

ALSO READ: From Steno to President Pick: A Sneak Peek Into Ram Nath Kovind’s Life

JP Nadda and Rajnath Singh have been entrusted with the responsibility of holding talks with all political parties over the candidate for presidential polls.

They have held talks with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, Trinamool Congress president and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Janata Dal (United) leader and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Biju Janata Dal supremo and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah but no outcome has come so far.

The late date for filing nominations is June 29, the polling will take place on July 18 and the votes will be counted on July 21.

-Opposition leaders to meet today

Struggling to pick a candidate, the Opposition parties will also meet in Delhi on Tuesday for the second time to finalise a joint nominee for the July 18 election.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar will be chairing the meeting of leaders from 17 Opposition parties on Tuesday amid hopes of further strengthening the anti-BJP coalition.

ALSO READ: Presidential Polls: As Oppn Gears Up to Pick Face, A Look at Who Can File Nominations, Voting Process

Some Opposition parties have suggested former Union minister and Trinamool Congress vice president Yashwant Sinha as their joint candidate for the presidential election, a senior Trinamool Congress leader said in Kolkata.

-Yashwant Sinha for President? Non-Bjp parties mulling the ex-min’s name as joint oppn candidate

Non-BJP parties are mulling putting up former union minister Yashwant Sinha as a possible joint candidate for the upcoming presidential election, a senior TMC leader said on Monday. The name of the former BJP leader who joined the TMC last year has been proposed as a presidential poll candidate by a few opposition parties and three to four have seconded it, he said.

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has received phone calls suggesting the 85-year-old veteran leader’s name and she too is now pitching for Sinha as the joint opposition nominee, he said.

The NDA which has over 48 per cent of the vote share in the electoral college which votes in a President, is likely to also be able to garner support from some smaller parties including the BJD and may finally muster over 52 per cent votes. However, the stature of the opposition candidate can ensure a close fight and give some uneasy moments to the ruling camp.

-Gopalkrishna Gandhi refuses to contest

With Gopalkrishna Gandhi being the latest to turn down the offer, the Opposition has so far seen three of its probable presidential candidates declining to contest.

Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi on Monday declined the Opposition leaders’ request to contest the presidential election, days after NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah turned down similar offers.

In a statement, Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and C Rajagopalachari, said several esteemed leaders of the Opposition have done him the honour of thinking of him for the Opposition’s candidature in the upcoming election for the presidency. “I am most grateful to them. But having considered the matter deeply I see that the Opposition’s candidate should be one who will generate a national consensus and a national atmosphere beside Opposition unity. I feel there will be others who will do this far better than I, he said.

“And so I have requested the leaders to give the opportunity to such a person. May India get a President worthy of the office presaged by Rajaji as the last Governor General and inaugurated by Dr Rajendra Prasad as our first President, said the 77-year-old former diplomat who had also served as India’s High Commissioner to South Africa and Sri Lanka. Earlier, the Opposition leaders had met here on June 15 where West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had also proposed the names of Pawar and Abdullah as probable candidates for the presidential election.

-TMC’s Abhishek Banerjee to represent party at Opposition meet

Trinamool Congress (TMC) national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee is likely to represent the party at the opposition meeting convened by NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is unlikely to participate in the meeting due to prior engagements.

ALSO READ: ‘Prior Engagements’: Mamata Banerjee May Not Attend Oppn Meet on Prez Polls Convened by Sharad Pawar

“The CM has asked Abhishek Banerjee to be present at the meeting. He was also there with Mamata Banerjee at the last opposition meeting on June 15,” the TMC functionary said. During the June meeting called by Banerjee in Delhi to formulate a strategy for the upcoming presidential poll, it was decided that a common candidate, who will “uphold the democratic ethos of the country”, will be chosen as the opposition nominee.

-AIMIM to attend Opposition meet

The All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) on Monday it will attend a meeting of major opposition parties to deliberate on a consensus candidate for the next month’s presidential election.

The AIMIM said Sharad Pawar has invited the Hyderabad-based outfit for the meeting and the party’s Maharashtra unit chief, Imtiaz Jaleel, will attend the gathering.

The AIMIM’s official Twitter account posted that the party will attend the latest meeting of opposition parties on the presidential election and Jaleel, the Member of Parliament from Aurangabad, will represent it at the meet.

When contacted, Jaleel said, “NCP chief Sharad Pawar had personally called AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi and I will attend the meeting on my party’s behalf. We shall see what happens in the meeting and then decide the party’s stand on the presidential election.” Pawar, former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi and National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah have all declined the opposition leaders’ request to contest the election for the country’s top constitutional post. The process to elect a new president began on June 15. The last date for filing nominations is June 29. The polls, if necessary, will be held on July 18 and the counting on July 21.

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