Presidential polls: BJP, Opposition parties begin preparations in full swing
With the presidential elections due in July, both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Opposition parties have begun preparations in full swing. On Monday, the BJP top brass, including Home Minister Amit Shah and national president JP Nadda, held a four-hour meeting at the latter's residence. The elections for 57 seats to the Rajya Sabha—scheduled for June 10—were also discussed, reports said.
- The BJP's victory in the recent Assembly elections suggests the saffron party-led National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) numbers are secure.
- BJP strategists are also trying to woo Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSR Congress Party.
- Notably, the BJD has voted in support of the BJP-led central government on several issues.
Meanwhile, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) is busy uniting the Opposition to field a common presidential candidate against the NDA nominee. With this goal in mind, he has visited several states and met many opposition leaders of late. Among them were Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.
KCR will soon visit West Bengal to meet Trinamool Congress supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. He will also meet former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda in Bengaluru. Moreover, Rao is scheduled to meet Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav as well. Interestingly, despite being a BJP ally, Kumar has not supported its presidential candidates in the last few elections.
The current status of the electoral college for the presidential election gives the Opposition a slight edge over the NDA. However, if the BJP keeps its votes intact and wins the support of regional and smaller parties, it can run past the hurdles and ensure a comfortable lead to get its candidate elected for the post of the President of India in July.
In 2017, when the National Democratic Alliance was in power in 21 states, its candidate Ram Nath Kovind won with 65.65% votes of the electoral college. In 2022, however, only 18 states are either reportedly being governed by the BJP or its alliance partners.
The president is elected by members of an electoral college comprising 776 elected MPs—from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha—and the MLAs of states and union territories of Delhi, Puducherry, and Jammu & Kashmir. The value of an MLA's vote depends on the population of the state they represent. Currently, an MLA from Uttar Pradesh has the highest value followed by Maharashtra and West Bengal.