Friday, August 19th, 2022

The next President will be elected on July 18.

With President Ram Nath Kovind’s term ending on July 24, the Election Commission of India announced that polling to elect the country’s 15th President will be held on July 18 and the votes will be counted on July 21. The ruling BJP-led NDA and the Opposition are yet to reveal their choice of candidates. That the nominee of the NDA, which has around 48 per cent votes in the electoral college, will win the Presidential race. It will take the help of some friendly parties like the BJD of Odisha and YSRCP of Andhra Pradesh, which is a foregone conclusion. But the Opposition is trying to ensure a contest like last time.  

Congress president Sonia Gandhi spoke to West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC leader Mamata Banerjee and NCP chief Sharad Pawar. The talk was part of efforts to find a consensus candidate. She has already spoken to other leaders like Sitaram Yechury of the CPM. It is learnt that Gandhi told the leaders that Mallikarjun Kharge. He is the leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha and would be the point person on behalf of her party for the election. 

Trinamool Congress and the Left parties have exchanged notes regarding the presidential election.  

Sources in the Opposition camp said consultations are on between like-minded parties to find a consensus candidate. But the Opposition, unlike in 2017, is badly divided. There will be a contest for sure. And they will field a candidate who is acceptable to all.  Sources said top leaders of the Congress, Trinamool Congress and the Left parties have exchanged notes. A formal meeting is yet to be scheduled. 

The ruling NDA is keeping its cards close to its chest. BJP sources said senior leaders are already in touch with friendly parties like YSRCP and BJD. The BJP appears confident of getting their support to ensure smooth sailing for its candidate. The BJP alone has 392 MPs. It excludes the four nominated Rajya Sabha members who cannot vote. These are out of the current strength of 772 members from both Houses. Given the present strength of the parties in Parliament and in the state Assemblies; the NDA has 48 per cent of the votes. The Congress-led UPA has 24 per cent votes. The Trinamool Congress has 5.4 per cent. The YSRCP has 4 per cent. BJD has 2.85 per cent. The Left parties have 2.5 per cent and the rest of the parties constitute around 12 per cent of the electoral college. 

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