The BJP on Friday formed a 14-member campaign management committee for the election of the next President of India, with Water Resources Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat as the convener.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) hasn’t yet announced a candidate, though, nor have the opposition parties. The BJP is likely to declare its candidate next week before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s departure to Germany to participate in the G7 summit, its is learnt. He is expected to be present at the time of filing of the nomination by June 26. The last date for nominations is June 29.
The voting is scheduled for July 18 and counting, if needed, will be done on July 21. President Ramnath Kovind’s term ends on July 24. Elected MPs and MLAs are the voters.
The BJP committee, which has ministers and party officials, will manage a nationwide campaign for the NDA candidate to gather support.
Others on the panel are union ministers G Kishan Reddy, Ashwini Vaishnaw, Sarbananda Sonowal, Arjun Meghwal and Bharati Pawar.
BJP general secretaries Vinod Tawde and CT Ravi are co-conveners, said a party communique. Tarun Chugh, DK Aruna, Rituraj Sinha, V Srinavasan, Sambit Patra and Rajdeep Roy are members, too.
The NDA does not have the numbers for a sure-shot victory.
With that in mind, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has tried to gather opposition parties for a consensus candidate.
The BJP, however, has reached out to the opposition too.
The polls are based on an electoral college comprising votes of MLAs and MPs. Vote value of each MLA depends on the population of the state and the number of assembly seats. Total strength of the electoral college, thus, is 10,86,431. A candidate with more than 50 per cent votes wins.
The NDA is 13,000 votes short.
In 2017, too, the BJP-led did not have the required numbers, but it got support from Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), YSR Congress and Biju Janata Dal, for Mr Kovind against Congress-led opposition’s candidate Meira Kumar.
This time, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao of the TRS is part of the efforts to gather opposition forces against BJP.