Sunday, June 4, 2023

BJP names Murmu, Oppn picks Sinha as presidential candidates

Battle lines were drawn on Tuesday for the July 18 presidential election with the BJP-led NDA naming Droupadi Murmu, a tribal leader from Odisha, as its candidate while former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha was declared as a joint nominee by major opposition parties, including the Congress, the NCP and the TMC.
BJP president JP Nadda announced the candidature of 64-year-old Murmu, former Jharkhand governor, following a meeting of the party’s parliamentary board, hours after opposition parties in a joint statement named Sinha. Murmu, will be the first tribal woman to occupy the top constitutional post if she is elected, a strong possibility as numbers are stacked in favour of the BJP-led NDA. With her nomination, the BJP is sending out a significant political message after elevating a Dalit, Ram Nath Kovind, to the top post five years back.
Prime Minister Modi said Murmu has devoted her life to serving society and expressed confidence that she will be a “great President”.
Murmu said she was surprised as well as delighted by the announcement.
Opposition leaders, who gathered at the Parliament annexe for the meeting convened by NCP chief Sharad Pawar to decide on a common candidate for the much-discussed presidential election, unanimously agreed on Sinha’s name.
“He is eminently qualified to uphold the secular and democratic character of the Indian Republic and its Constitutional values,” the joint statement said.
The veteran politician, who has been an MP from Jharkhand, “stepped aside” from the Trinamool Congress before the announcement of his name and will file his nomination papers on June 27.
“We regret the Modi government made no serious effort to have consensus on a presidential candidate,” Ramesh said.
The leaders also announced that a committee formed to steer Sinha’s presidential campaign will start working from today. Sinha, who has been vocal on a range of issues, is in his 80s.
The presidential election would be held on July 18 to elect a successor to incumbent Ram Nath Kovind and the result would be out on July 21.

Yashwant Sinha

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