The Election Commission issuing the notification regarding the presidential election today marks the final leg to what is perceived to turn out to be a high-stakes battle, with both the BJP and the Opposition busy working on their strategies ahead of the polls. However, a crucial meeting of the BJP committee comprising Union minister Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu with Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday for consultations on the presidential election could decide the course to follow.
The panel is expected to seek the views of the Congress president and later other opposition leaders including CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, on the names for the next President. If at all the parties agree on a consensus candidate, the election will not be required at all.
Today, BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu spoke to BSP’s S C Mishra and NCPs Praful Patel. Both informed Naidu that their parties will firm up their stand only after their meetings with the committee.
While the BJP will hold wider consultations before unveiling the name of its nominee for the presidential election on July 17, the party is likely to choose the next occupant from within its ranks.
Even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah have "zeroed" in on some names, the final call on the candidate could be taken on the basis of response of the opposition parties and senior BJP leaders.
The BJP will disclose its Presidential nominee before Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarks on his US visit on June 23.
Leaders of the top opposition parties will meet on Wednesday to work out their strategy. This will be the first meeting of the 10-member group set up after Sonia Gandhi held consultations with other opposition leaders.
With the term of President Pranab Mukherjee ending on 24 July, the Election Commission last week announced the dates for the polling process for his successor.
Political parties have time until 28 June to file nominations and 1 July is the last day for withdrawal of nominations. Polling is scheduled to be held on 17 July and counting of votes will take place on 20 July.
It said that according to calculations on paper, 23 constituents of the NDA have 48 per cent vote share for the president's post among themselves while the UPA, with its 17 constituents, has 26 per cent vote.