21 June, 2017
The BJP on Monday defended the decision not to come out with a name for the July 17 presidential election during meetings held by the three-member panel with the opposition, saying it did not want to appear "pre-determined".
It is not clear whether it will come out with an announcement on Monday itself.
According to informed sources, the board members would be briefed about the consultations held by the three-member party committee formed to evolve consensus with the opposition. They should be able to count on enough support from other parties to secure a majority, say BJP officials. "We expected consultations on names before a final decision", said Rajya Sabha Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. For each of these sets of candidate's nomination, the form has to be signed by at least 50 electors as proposers and 50 as seconders.
Although, neither the Centre nor the Opposition have declared their presidential candidate, yet several names like that of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, have been doing the rounds.
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The NDA needs around 20,000 more votes to ensure victory of its candidate and the reach out to the opposition is seen as an exercise to test if there could be a consensus and ensure a greater margin of victory.
India's ruling coalition has announced its candidate for a presidential election, choosing a man who has championed the rights of India's Dalits amid protests by so-called "lower castes". In the last two Presidential elections, the Shiv Sena did not support the NDA candidate.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Naidu on Friday met Communist Party of India (CPI) leaders D. Raja and Sudhakar Reddy at the latter's party office over presidential elections. Naidu also met Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav and Naresh Agrawal. The saffron party has maintained a odd secrecy over the choice of its candidate, baffling not just the Opposition but also some allies.