By Prakash Kumar
New Delhi: The government will consult opposition leaders on presidential candidate once it makes up its mind, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on June 1.
Jaitley’s response at a press conference here was to a query on opposition recently urging the government to declare its candidate first and create a consensus on the candidate for presidential election ahead of Pranab Mukherjee’s term comes to an end on July 24.
The BJP is likely to hold consultations with its NDA allies and opposition leaders after the Election Commission of India notifies presidential poll schedule which is expected around mid-June as it happened last time on June 16, 2012, a party leader said. The polling had taken place on July 19, that year. A top BJP leader had recently said that serious exercise on the presidential poll will begin after Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns home this weekend from his on-going four-nation foreign tour.
Though the party top brass is searching for a suitable candidate, who has all accomplishments to carry a social message, for the top Constitutional post, it has not been able to lay its hand on any particular person, said BJP sources. The BJP’s hunt for a face is spread over a wide range of background — from socially and economically backward to achievers in fields. An eminent personality’s name had come up during the internal discussion but he was not found above board on all the parameters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has in mind for Rashtrapati Bhavan, said sources aware of developments.
The BJP leadership after identifying problems will hold consultations with its ideological mentor RSS to shortlist the final candidate for the top Constitutional post. BJP president Amit Shah met RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat at its headquarters in Nagpur earlier this week, leading to the buzz that presidential poll came up for discussion, Sangh official spokesperson outrightly denied it.
A source in the RSS claimed all the names doings the rounds are nowhere on the radar for the presidential election. With BJP president Amit Shah confident of installing a figure of the NDA’s choice owing to numbers on their side after non-NDA parties such as TRS and YSR Congress have openly indicated support in their favor, the party will prepare a list of at least three candidates to hold consultations with its partners and opposition parties.
This move would be to hedge its ultimate choice of candidate for presidential election, according to said party sources.
By Prakash Kumar