Millennium Post

BJP makes a contest of presidential race

It is official now that the race to Raisina Hills will have two strong contenders. It is going to be between Pranab Mukherjee and P A Sangma. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on Thursday, declared that the National Democratic Alliance’s candidate for the presidential poll will be Sangma.

‘The BJP has decided to support Sangma, whose candidature has been proposed by the AIADMK and the BJD,’ said the BJP leader Sushma Swaraj.

Though Sangma’s name has been endorsed by NDA, his chances of occupying the highest office are slim, as Mukerjee with 6.29 lakh votes can expect a smooth ride to the Rashtrapati Bhawan. It can rise to 3.56 lakh votes if the Trinamool Congress chooses to go with the NDA candidate.

The decision of the Janata Dal (United) and the Shiv Sena to support a United Progressive Alliance (UPA) candidate had taken the BJP by surprise. However, the party insisted that it would have no impact on the mature coalition of the NDA. ‘We regret that we could not persuade our allies and we hope they will review their position,’ said the BJP leader Arun Jaitley.

Resting aside speculations of a division within the NDA, the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said that it was not the first time that the NDA allies had taken a stand contrary to the view held by the NDA collectively. ‘The Shiv Sena in the last presidential elections had voted for the UPA nominee Pratibha Patil, but the party still remains a part of the NDA. There is no question of a division within the NDA,’ said Swaraj.

The relations between the BJP and its allies have not been smooth in recent times, particularly with the JD(U), whose leader Nitish Kumar has taken a dig at the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. The JD(U) clarified that it was not snapping ties with the BJP and the decision to support the UPA candidate was taken as a consensus was building up around Mukherjee’s name.

‘We are not supporting a Congress candidate, but under the present circumstances, we are supporting a UPA candidate for whom there is a consensus,’ said the JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav.
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