President candidate Draupadi Murmu sweeps at the sweeps at the Purnandeswar Shiv temple in Rairangpur, Mayurbhanj district, Odisha (PTI Photo)
New Delhi/ Bhubaneswar: The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance's presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu is likely to file her nomination on June 24. She is expected to be accompanied by its top leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Several Union ministers and chief ministers and key leaders of some other supporting parties like the Biju Janata Dal will join her during the nomination-filing as a show of support, sources said, adding that the Prime Minister is expected to be the first proposer.
A presidential candidate requires a set of 50 proposers and 50 seconders for his or her nomination. At least four sets of nominations may be filed in Ms Murmu's support, BJP sources said.
BJP president J.P. Nadda also held a meeting with party leaders involved in the polling process.
They will be travelling across the country to spearhead Ms Murmu's campaign as she will be reaching out to the members of the presidential electoral college, which is made up of MPs and MLAs, for their support.
With the Opposition fielding former Union minister Yashwant Singh as its candidate, the election will be held on July 18.
The numbers heavily favour Ms Murmu, a tribal leader from Odisha.
Odisha chief minister and Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday appealed to all the legislators of Odisha to vote for Ms Murmu. "Appeal all the members of the Odisha legislative Assembly, cutting across party lines, to extend unanimous support to elect the daughter of Odisha, Smt Droupadi Murmu to the country’s highest office," said the CM.
After the BJD's support to her, she already has the majority support for her. The BJPis expecting some other regional parties like the YSR Congress and the AIADMK to back her as well.
The Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) has also extended its support to the NDA’s nominee for presidential polls.
On Wednesday, in a statement, Bihar CM expressed happiness over the decision and said that the Prime Minister had called to inform him about the decision.
"It is a matter of great pride and happiness that a tribal woman has been made the candidate for the highest post in the country. She has been a minister in the government of Odisha and served as governor of Jharkhand. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called and informed me about the decision on Tuesday. I welcome the decision and thank the Prime Minister for this," Mr Kumar said in a statement.
The JD(U)’s move attains significance as Mr Kumar had voted in favour of the UPA's presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee in 2012 while his party was with the NDA. In 2017, Mr Kumar supported the NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind while he was part of the grand alliance.
Other political parties from Bihar who have also extended support to the NDA’s presidential candidate are Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) and both the factions of LJP.
"I congratulate former governor and pride of the tribal community Droupadi Murmu for being declared as the NDA’s presidential candidate. It is a proud moment that second time in a row someone from among us is going to become the President," HAM(S) chief said in a tweet.
While speaking on the issue, Chirag Paswan said, "His party LJP (Ram Vilas) has decided to extend support to the NDA presidential candidate."
He further clarified that defence minister Rajnath Singh had called to inform him about Ms Murmu being made the NDA’s presidential candidate. He also said that Rajnath Singh told him that their party still considers him an ally of the NDA.
Mr Nadda on Tuesday announced her name as the NDA's presidential candidate following a meeting of the party's parliamentary board, which included the Prime Minister and other senior leaders.
Ms Murmu (64), a former Jharkhand governor, will be the first person from Odisha to occupy the top constitutional post if she is elected, which is a strong possibility.
Ms Murmu visited several temples in her home town of Rairangpur in Mayurbhanj district on Wednesday morning, a day after the BJP-led NDA named her as its candidate for the upcoming presidential elections.
Ms Murmu visited Lord Jagannath, Hanuman and Shiv temples and offered prayers. She also swept the premises of the Purnandeswar Shiv temple before offering prayers. Subsequently, she visited Prajapita Brahma Kumari Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya in Rairangpur and offered prayers. She was accorded a grand welcome on the premises.
Denizens of Ms Murmu’s home district, Mayurbhanj, are elated over the development.
"It’s a proud moment for Mayurbhanj. The NDA has given priority to Mayurbhanj again. After my induction as a Union minister, selecting Ms Murmu for the highest constitutional post of the country shows the priority of the NDA government. We all should cherish the great moment as Odias and as the denizens of Mayurbhanj," said Union minister of state for tribal affairs Bishweswar Tudu.
Ms Murmu was the first woman governor of Jharkhand and thus became the first woman and tribal leader of Odisha to be the governor of an Indian state. Expressing pleasure over her selection as an NDA candidate for election into the highest office of the country, her daughter Itishree Murmu, a bank officer, said, "We all are proud of her selection in the race for the presidential election. Her hard work, dedication and selfless service to the people have paid off."
Rairangpur MLA Naba Charan Majhi said Ms Murmu has a special liking for Mayubhanj and after her elevation to the top post the district will be immensely helped in terms of development.
Ms Murmu has been provided Z plus security from Tuesday following her nomination as the presidential candidate.