Who will be the next President of India? As opposition parties attempt to put up a candidate jointly, here is a list of possible contenders from the ruling NDA:
Draupadi Murmu: The 58 -year old politician from Odisha is currently the governor of Jharkhand. She was a minister in the BJD-BJP alliance government in Odisha between 2000 and 2004. There are three factors that make her a likely candidate: As a woman, her elevation could help the BJP consolidate its base among women voters. Her tribal origin will help the BJP and its ideological patron, the RSS, reach out to the constituency. She hails from Odisha, where the BJP is emerging as the principal opposition party, relegating the Congress to the third position. Her candidature might also force the ruling party of Odisha, the BJD, to vote for the NDA nominee.
Sumitra Mahajan: Eight-term MP from Indore, the 74 year old politician became Lok Sabha speaker in 2014. Mahajan was a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. She enjoys the confidence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Opposition parties have, however, often questioned her impartiality.
Sushma Swaraj: 65-year old Swaraj is India’s second woman leader to hold the charge of foreign affairs ministry. She is a seven-term parliamentarian, three-term MLA and former chief minister of Delhi. At 25, she became the youngest cabinet minister in Haryana government in 1977. She has friends across party lines, something that can help the BJP create a larger consensus on the presidential nominee.
M Venkaiah Naidu: A politician from Andhra Pradesh, Naidu is currently the urban development and information & broadcasting minister. The 67-year-old leader is a former president of the BJP and one of the first to back Modi as the party’s prime ministerial candidate. He was a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government as well. As the BJP seeks to expand its footprint in the South, a presidential nominee from a southern state could give it a talking point.
Thawar Chand Gehlot: The 68-year-old politician from Madhya Pradesh is currently the social justice minister in the Modi government. He is the only schedule-caste leader in the BJP’s highest decision making body, the parliamentary board. A leader with an RSS background, Gehlot is a non controversial leader.
Tenure: 1952-1962 From: Bihar
India’s first president was also its longest serving one. He was a professor and practicing lawyer.
Tenure: 1962-1967 From: Tamil Nadu
Radhakrishnan had an illustrious career as a teacher and was appointed as an ambassador to UNESCO.
Tenure: 1967-1969 From: Telangana
Husain was an educator and served as the Governor of Bihar. He had the shortest stint as President and died in office.
Tenure: 1969-1974 From: Odisha
Giri, who was Vice President, resigned and decided to contest as an independent candidate. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi then decided to support him.
Tenure: 1974-1977 From: Delhi
A lawyer and a cabinet ministe, Ahmed signed the proclamation allowing Indira Gandhi to impose the Emergency.
Tenure: 1977-1982 From: Andhra Pradesh
Reddy served as a Lok Sabha speaker and the first CM of Andra Pradesh after incorporation of Telangana.
Tenure: 1982-1987 From: Punjab
Singh’s presidency was marked by Operation Blue Star, Indira Gandhi’s assassination, and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Tenure: 1987-1992 From: Tamil Nadu
Venkataraman worked with four Prime Ministers - Narasimha Rao, Chandra Shekhar, Viswanath Pratap Singh and Rajiv Gandhi during his tenure.
Tenure: 1992-1997 From: Madhya Pradesh
Sharma taught law at Lucknow University and at the University of Cambridge.
Tenure: 1997-2002 From: Kerala
India’s first Dalit president, Narayanan had worked as a journalist and served as ambassador in Japan, UK, USA, Thailand, Turkey and China.
Tenure: 2002-2007 From: Tamil Nadu
One of India’s most popular presidents, Kalam was the first scientist to hold the post. He was also a prolific author.
Tenure: 2007-2012 From: Maharashtra
Patil, who became the first woman to become India’s president, had previously served as a Governor of Rajasthan.
Tenure: 2012-2017 From: West Bengal
The veteran Congress leader had served as a cabinet minister for defence, external affairs, finance and commerece, before being elected as India’s latest president.