New Delhi: The BJP’s dream of getting the first saffron candidate elected as President of India may run into trouble if the results of the Assembly elections in the five states are not up to its expectations.
The Opposition parties have kept the channels of communication open not only among themselves but also with fence-sitting NDA constituents like the Shiv Sena and the Akali Dal to pop up a rival nominee in case the BJP fares badly in the ongoing polls.
The President of India is chosen by an electoral college that comprises the elected members of both Houses of Parliament, as well as elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of all 29 states and elected members of the Assemblies of Delhi and Puducherry.
The results of the ongoing Assembly elections are crucial as the BJP is short of numbers in the electoral college that will pick the next President.
The presidential election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote, which means that a strong show by the BJP in the Assembly polls, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, where MLAs’ votes have a total value of 83,824, may give it the political leeway needed to pick its own nominee or a saffron candidate.
The initiative to embarrass the BJP in the presidential polls to be held in July has been taken by Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. On a visit to New Delhi earlier this month, Mr Kumar met CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury as well as leaders of the CPI and the Indian National Lok Dal. “Channels of communication have also been opened with the Shiv Sena and Akali Dal,” sources said.
The Shiv Sena is locked in a bitter turf war with the BJP in the Maharashtra civic polls. The Sena had also joined the Opposition parties led by the Congress in a march earlier to protest against the de-magnetisation drive. The pact between the Akali Dal and the BJP also had its own set of problems, The Opposition parties are keen to exploit this, more so if the ruling coalition fares badly in the Punjab Assembly polls.
Other Opposition parties like Trinamul Congress, though in principle are supporting the move, have not yet come out into the open because of differences between Mr Kumar and Trinamul supremo Mamata Banerjee....