President Pranab Mukherjee’s term as president of India will end on 24th July, 2017. Speculation is in the air about who will occupy the prestigious post for the next five years.
The BJP-led NDA holds 48.10 percent of the votes in the Rajya Sabha while the Opposition parties hold a combined total of 51.90 percent. With voting expected to be close, it is expected that both sides will field their own nominations for the post of President of India.
So far, 17 parties have pledged their support for the BJP nomination, including Tamil Nadu’s AIADMK and Telangana’s Telangana Rashtra Samiti, providing further support for BJP’s mandate. Congress in the meanwhile, has been meeting the leaders of opposition parties to build a consensus to support a single presidential candidate fielded by the opposition.
BJP will be looking to utilize this opportunity to elect a president who will be supportive of the party and its government. The opposition, led by Congress, has announced that it would wait for the NDA’s nomination before deciding on their strategy for the elections. However, it is expected that the opposition parties would like to use the presidential elections to stop the BJP wave currently sweeping the nation.
With a close contest expected between the two sides, here are the names that have been linked with the post of president of India:
Tribal leader and current Governor of Jharkhand, Draupadi Murmu is one of the candidates the BJP hopes to nominate for the presidential post. The nomination of Murmu could place BJP in a favourable position as a party that represents the backward classes.
Sushma Swaraj is one of the more popular leaders in the BJP and the Modi cabinet as well as the public, who appreciate the minister’s active and efficient role as the Minister of External Affairs. Swaraj’s nomination for president would be a fitting reward by the BJP for her contribution to the party and the government.
The current Lok Sabha Speaker, Sumitra Mahajan enjoys a good rapport with senior BJP leaders, including PM Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, as well as leaders of the opposition parties. If nominated for President of India, Mahajan could be relieved of her responsibilities as Speaker.
Renowned diplomat and former governor of West Bengal, Gopalkrishna Gandhi is one of the front-running candidates being linked to the presidential post. The former governor has spoken to Sonia Gandhi regarding the candidacy, according to reports.
Former Speaker of Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar is another candidate figuring as the opposition’s nomination. The former Speaker belong to a backward caste and could be the opposition’s prime candidate should the BJP nominate Murmu for the presidential post.
The safest option for the opposition parties would be to elect Pranab Mukherjee for a second term as President of india. The current president is not a divisive figure in the parliament and enjoys the support of Congress.