KCR focuses on Presidential poll

KCR has initiated consultations with regional parties to achieve a consensus among non-BJP parties to field a joint Opposition candidate

Hyderabad: TRS president and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has focused his energies on taking the BJP in the upcoming Presidential election, which is scheduled for July, by fielding a joint opposition candidate.

According to party sources, the Chief Minister has initiated consultations with regional parties to achieve a consensus among non-BJP parties to field a joint Opposition candidate for the Presidential election. They said the Chief Minister has also decided to visit a few states from April-end to sell his idea to other parties such as the Trinamool Congress, DMK, Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party and also Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of the CPM.

The sources said the BJP-led NDA is short of 9,194 votes to win the presidential election on its own. The role of the YSR Congress and the Biju Janata Dal — having a significant number of votes in the electoral college — will be key in the Presidential Election. Both the parties supported the BJP candidate in 2017.

Chandrashekar Rao, the sources said, feels that if the non-BJP parties could able to convince regional parties such as the BJD and the YSRC against supporting the NDA candidate, the Opposition would have a chance to win the election or at least put up a strong fight against the BJP which will go a long way in forging an anti-BJP front for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

The BJP — on its own or in an alliance — is in power in 17 states and a Union territory. The President of India is elected by an electoral college that is formed by 776 parliamentarians and 4,120 legislators. For the Presidential poll, the electoral college has a total of 1,098,903 votes. With the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, which has a combined vote value of 6,264, remaining suspended, the majority mark is down to 546,320 votes. The BJP has 4,65,797 votes and its alliance partners have 71,329 votes — taking the total to 5,37,126 votes, which is 9,194 votes short of the majority that is required to win the Presidential election.

The value of each vote for an MP is 708. In the case of MLAs, the value of each vote differs from state to state. An MLA’s vote in Uttar Pradesh has the highest value at 208.

Although BJP retained power in UP in the recent Assembly polls in March for the second term, its strength in the Assembly came down to 255 compared to 312 in 2017, which raised hopes of opposition parties in the Presidential election.

In 2017, NDA candidate Ramnath Kovind won by securing 6,61,278 votes while Congress-led joint opposition candidate Meira Kumar got 4,34,241 votes. The TRS, YSRC, Telugu Desam, and BJD supported the NDA in 2017.

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