Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022

BJP Unlikely To Nominate President Pranab Mukherjee For Second Term: Report

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Despite Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s attempt to mount pressure on the Centre to nominate President Pranab Mukherjee for a second term, sources in the BJP said the ruling party would like a candidate of its choice even if it means a contest.

Kumar on Monday pitched for building a consensus on the next president, suggesting that the BJP should initiate talks with political parties and favouring a second term for Mukherjee.

Top sources in the BJP, however, told NDTV on Wednesday that the opposition must respect the situation as it is today.

The sources said BJP leaders will confer with the party's ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, next month to decide on their candidate. 

There has been speculation that Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, senior BJP leader and union minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Draupadi Murmu, currently the governor of Jharkhand, are in the running.

The Congress on Tuesday indicated that it will support Kumar’s move if the president agrees to it. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi met West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to discuss fielding a common opposition candidate to take on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance's nominee in the presidential election to be held in July.

Mukherjee, however, has reportedly said he would consider a second term only if the government nominates him.  

But the government signaled its stand when it asked union minister Mahesh Sharma to vacate his official residence at Delhi's 10 Rajaji Marg so that it could be readied for Mukherjee to live in after his term ends in July. BJP leaders said there is no change.