BJP forms panel to forge consensus on presidential candidate

BJP chief Amit Shah, who cancelled his plans to prioritise the Presidential polls, formed a three-member panel today of senior ministers to start consulting allies on the next president.

Two former BJP Presidents Rajnath Singh (Home) and M. Venkaiah Naidu (Urban Development) as well as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley are members of the committee, the Bharatiya Janata Party said in a statement.

The Presidential election will be held on 17 July. The last date for filing nominations for the poll is 28 June. Jagan Mohan Reddy has already announced his support for BJP's candidate. With the issuance of a notification, the nomination process will begin June 14.

Neither BJP nor the congress have announced their candidates so far to replace president Pranab Mukherjee whose term ends on July 25. The opposition parties want that the candidate should be one who should be able to protect the Constitution, implying the choice should be a secular person. Many Opposition parties, including Congress, are keen that Pawar contest for the President's post.

The politics on the presidential elections is hotting up as at least nine opposition parties will hold a meeting on Wednesday to finalise their strategy on naming a candidate for the contest in the absence of consensus.

But ahead of that, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has served a curveball by asserting that the opposition will field a candidate only when attempts to field a consensus candidate fail. The panel consists of the Congress leaders in both the Houses of Parliament - Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjuna Kharge, besides senior JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav and others.

  • Zachary Reyes