Presidential Polls: It’s Draupadi Murmu vs Yashwant Sinha

New Delhi- The ruling NDA and the opposition both declared their nominees for the upcoming presidential polls in July, with the BJP’s parliamentary board nominating tribal leader and former Jharkhand governor Draupadi Murmu and opposition declaring Yashwant Sinha as respective presidential candidates.

BJP president J P Nadda announced the name of Draupadi Murmu, a tribal leader of the BJP who hails from Odisha at a press conference following a meeting of the party top brass.

He said that during the meeting of the BJP’s parliamentary board, around 20 names were discussed as possible candidates, but it was felt that the new President of India should hail from the East, should be a woman and also belong to the Adivasi community.

Earlier Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha emerged as consensus presidential candidate of several opposition parties, including the Congress, the TMC and the Samajwadi Party, the parties said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

Opposition leaders, who gathered at the Parliament annexe for the meeting convened by NCP chief Sharad Pawar to decide on a consensus candidate for the presidential election, unanimously agreed on Sinha’s name.

“We are happy to announce that we have unanimously chosen Yashwant Sinha as the common candidate of the opposition parties for the presidential election, which will take place on July 18, 2022,” Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said while reading out a joint statement after the meeting.

“In his long and distinguished career in public life, Shri Yashwant Sinha has served the nation in various capacities – as an able administrator, accomplished parliamentarian and acclaimed Union Minister of Finance and External Affairs. He is eminently qualified to uphold secular and democratic character of the Indian Republic and its Constitutional values,” the statement also said.

Ramesh said the opposition parties have appealed to all parties to support Yashwant Sinha as president so the country could have a worthy ‘rashtrapati’ elected unopposed.

“We regret Modi government made no serious effort to have consensus on a presidential candidate,” said Ramesh.

Reading out the joint statement, he added that the unity of opposition parties forged for the presidential poll will be further consolidated in the months ahead.

Sinha’s name came up after Pawar, Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Farooq Abdullah opted out of the race.

The parties that attended the meeting included the Congress, NCP, TMC, CPI, CPI-M, Samajwadi Party, National Conference, AIMIM, RJD and AIUDF.

Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge and Jairam Ramesh, TMC’s Abhishek Banerjee, DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury and CPI’s D Raja were among those who participated in the meeting.

Five regional parties considered non-aligned – TRS, BJD. AAP, SAD and YSRCP — stayed away. These parties had also stayed away from the June 15 meeting convened by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

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