Senior leaders of the BJP will discuss the candidates for the Presidential elections. Lawmakers from the states will meanwhile sign papers to get the nomination process underway.
- The BJP parliamentary board meeting is expected to be held at noon. It will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah and also the members of the panel formed to build consensus with the opposition — Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu.
- There are speculations that the meeting may come to a conclusion and announce the NDA’s presidential candidate today.
- BJP ally Shiv Sena, too, has said they cannot endorse a candidate without knowing who it is. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has indicated this to party chief Amit Shah after a meeting in Mumbai yesterday, Sena sources said.
- So far, Sena has named 91-year-old agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan and Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of BJP’s ideological mentor RSS, as its top choices. In the two last Presidential elections, Shiv Sena has supported Pranab Mukherjee and Pratibha Patil – both of whom were UPA candidates.
- All BJP lawmakers and ministers have been summoned to Delhi to get the nomination process underway. The elected representatives – all whom will vote in the election – will have to sign the papers nominating the NDA candidate.
- A total of four nomination papers have to be submitted — each needs 50 nominators and 50 seconders. Two days have been allocated for the signature process – June 19 and 20. The nomination is expected to be submitted on June 23. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to be present for the submission before he departs for the US the next day.
- The Left Front has said if the NDA doesn’t announce its candidate by Tuesday, the opposition will announce its own candidate. The Samajwadi Party has indicated that it would prefer a political president.
- There was a buzz about Sushma Swaraj being the frontrunner among the candidates, but the external affairs minister has said she is not in the race.
- The other names doing the round include Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu.
- The names opposition is said to be considering include former Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi, former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar.