NEW DELHI: BJP has authorised party preisdent JP Nadda and Union minister Rajnath Singh to hold consultations on the President’s election with different political parties, including those in the opposition, to forge a consensus on the choice for the top constitutional post.
The move to reach out to opposition parties comes on the heels of parallel moves by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee to finalise a joint opposition candidate for the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
BJP said the two senior members will soon begin holding talks with both governing NDA and opposition UPA constituents, besides other political parties as well as independent members. Opposition parties were quick to see this as an effort to break away some parties to vote with the governing coalition.
Opposition parties had accused BJP during the last Presidential polls in 2017 of reaching out to them at the last moment, after it had already finalised the choice of Ram Nath Kovind, who went on the become the President. Opposition had forced a contest by backing Meira Kumar, who lost to Kovind.
BJP, with its numerical advantage in Lok Sabha and comfortable position in Rajya Sabha and many state assemblies, will have the upper hand in ensuring victory for its candidate nominated by it in the upcoming election.
Singh, who enjoys a good rapport with leaders across the political spectrum, was also part of BJP’s committee during the 2017 Presidential polls to deliberate with opposition parties.
With its numbers just short, the BJP-led NDA’s nominee will require the support of one of the two fence-sitters — Biju Janata Dal or YSR Congress Party.
In the last presidential polls, both parties had supported Kovind.

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