Murmu, Mahajan, Swaraj and more: A look at NDA’s likely presidential nominees
Presidential elections will be held in July when President Mukherjee’s term endsUpdated: May 05, 2017 17:06 IST
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.