Sena rejects Shah’s plea to give Modi free hand; core group meet likely soon.
New Delhi: In the run-up to the July 17 presidential election, the BJP has called a meeting of its MPs on Monday and Tuesday, where they will be briefed about the process of polling for the presidential election. The BJP MPs will meet on June 19 and 20. A meeting of the ruling party’s core group or the parliamentary board, before the party announces its presidential candidate, is also due early next week, while the presidential candidate’s name, sources said, could be announced around June 20-21.
BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday meanwhile met ally Shiv Sena’s president Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai to build a consensus on the subject. After suggesting RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat’s name, the Shiv Sena had proposed the name of Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, the father of India’s Green Revolution, as its presidential choice.
Mr Thackeray, it was learnt, apparently rejected Mr Shah’s proposal that Prime Minister Narendra Modi be given the sole authority to pick a presidential candidate. The Sena chief also said that the BJP should first name its nominee, and only after that would the Sena make its stand public on the issue.
The BJP had formed a committee of three senior Union ministers — Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and M. Venkaiah Naidu — to consult with the political parties, including the Opposition parties, on the issue.
The BJP has also lined up its Union ministers and senior leaders of its allies as proposers and seconders for the filing of nomination papers of the presidential candidate, whose name will be announced soon. Only candidates backed by 50 “electors” and seconded by another 50 “electors” can contest the presidential poll.
It is learnt that the BJP could curtail its next national executive meeting, due next month, to only a day.
Sources said the state units have been informed that this meeting, which is otherwise a two-day affair, could take place on July 19, two days after the presidential election and a day before the result is declared. The venue, which was earlier announced as Visakhapatnam, could also be shifted to New Delhi.
The central leadership will, however, take a final decision on the venue as well as the duration of the meet only later. Sources said some top BJP leaders, including Mr Shah and the organisational secretaries, will also attend the RSS’ July 18-20 meeting in Jammu.
While the nomination process for the presidential polls will close on June 28, the BJP’s nominee is likely to file his or her nomination by June 23, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for Portugal and the United States on June 24. Voting will take place on July 17 and the result will be out on July 20.
The process of filing the nomination for the next President of India hadstarted on June 14 and the papers will be scrutinised on June 29.
The electoral college for the presidential polls consists of the elected members of Parliament and the Assemblies of states and the Union territories of Delhi and Puducherry.