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Amit Shah meets RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to discuss Presidential candidate

Ahead of the Presidential election, BJP national president Amit Shah met RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in Nagpur on Monday to discuss a possible candidate for the post.

india Updated: May 30, 2017 14:34 IST
Pradip Kumar Maitra
Pradip Kumar Maitra
Hindustan Times, Nagpur
BJP,RSS,Presidential candidate
BJP president Amit Shah arrives at Nagpur Airport on his way to RSS headquarter. Shah and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat discussed a possible Presidential candidate during their meeting.(HT PHOTO)

BJP national president Amit Shah met Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat and general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi on Monday amid intense speculation about the NDA government fielding either a Dalit or a tribal for the post of next President of India.

The meeting was significant in the wake of Shah’s statement that the BJP would consult opposition parties -- that have been working to forge unity over a joint presidential candidate -- before deciding on the ruling alliance’s pick for the top constitutional post.

The BJP chief went to RSS headquarters at 4.45pm and held a close-door meeting with Bhagwat and Joshi for over two and a half hours.

RSS sources said that both Bhagwat and Joshi wanted that a person with a Sangh Parivar background be nominated for the post of President.

Earlier, there was speculation that Bhagwat would be nominated as NDA candidate for the next President but the RSS chief himself shot down that proposal.

Read more: BJP will consult Oppn before picking presidential candidate, says Amit Shah

President Pranab Mukherjee’s term ends on July 25. The Presidential election is due earlier that month.

The BJP’s sweeping victory in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand has stacked the numbers in the electoral college in favour of the government. The electoral college comprises 776 parliamentarians and 4,120 legislators. Its total strength is 10, 98,882 votes and the halfway mark is 5, 49,442 votes. The NDA is short of 25,000 votes – a gap that can be easily bridged by smaller parties such as the AIADMK.

In view of the suggestions from the Sangh, the BJP-led NDA may throw a surprise candidate by nominating either a Dalit or a tribal leader.

The RSS wants to send out a message that Sangh Parivar is not a casteist organization. Union social justice minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, a well-known Dalit face or the Governor of Jharkhand Draupadi Murmu may be the probable candidates for the post.

RSS sources said that Bhagwat and Joshi made it clear that they have no objections if either Gehlot or Murmu is nominated for the constitutional post.

At the meeting, the leaders also discussed a likely cabinet reshuffle (expected to take place after the Presidential elections).

They focused on the need for a full time defence minister following Manohar Parrikar moving to Goa as the state’s chief minister. The defence ministry is now under finance minister Arun Jaitley’s additional charge

First Published: May 29, 2017 22:51 IST