The process of filing nominations for the July 17 presidential election began on Wednesday with the Election Commission issuing its notification in this regard. Now the battle begins between the ruling party and the Opposition as to who will occupy the President's office.
Leaders of opposition parties on Wednesday held preliminary discussions on the presidential election but decided to await the government’s choice of the nominee for the post before they decide their strategy.
Leaders of nine parties met in the parliament house in the chamber of the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, who told reporters later that no names were discussed in their meeting.
“It was a preliminary meeting. No nitty gritty nor names were discussed. All parties are totally united,” he said.
Azad said even as the opposition leaders were meeting, it has been disclosed that the three-member team constituted by BJP to hold discussion with opposition parties for a consensus will meet opposition leaders including Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
“No finalisation of name is possible,” he said adding the sub group of the opposition parties will meet in the next few days and discuss in detail by when the government would have also discussed with the opposition parties its choice.
Azad said the future discussion among the opposition parties will depend on the candidate the ruling side choose and the party he belongs to.
“Then only we can have substantial discussions,” he said.
Rashtriya Janata Dal Chief Lalu Prasad told the media that they would “remove” BJP.
Among those who attended the meeting in Azad’s chamber were Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Sharad Yadav, (JD-U), Praful Patel (NCP), Ram Gopal Yadav (SP), Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP), Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress), Derek O’Brien (TMC), and R.S. Bharti (DMK).
The three-member BJP committee formed to evolve a consensus on India’s new President will call on Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday, informed sources said on Wednesday.
This will be followed by the BJP panel’s meeting with CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, the sources said.
The three members of the committee are union ministers Rajnath Singh, M. Venkaiah Naidu and Arun Jaitley.
When Naidu on Wednesday spoke to BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra and NCP leader Praful Patel over phone, he was told that the two parties will firm up their stand only after the Bharatiya Janata Party panel meets them formally.
Earlier in the day, Rajnath Singh and Naidu met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
As the Election Commission on Wednesday set in motion the process to elect India’s 14th President, the Returning Officer for the presidential poll issued a notice paving the way for filing of nominations for the July 17 contest.
Lok Sabha Secretary General Anoop Mishra, the Returning Officer for the election to the office of President, issued the notice, declaring that the nomination papers may be delivered by a candidate or any of their proposers or seconders not later than June 28.
Each nomination paper shall be accompanied by a certified copy of the entry relating to the candidate in the electoral roll for the Parliamentary constituency in which the candidate is registered as an elector, Mishra said in the notice.
Candidates have been told to deposit a sum of Rs 15,000 with their nomination papers.
This amount may be deposited in cash with the Returning Officer at the time of presentation of the nomination paper or deposited earlier in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) or in a government treasury and in the latter case a receipt showing that the deposit has been made, Mishra said.
He added the nomination papers, other than those rejected, will be taken up for scrutiny on June 29.
The notice of withdrawal of candidature may be delivered by a candidate or any one of his proposers or seconders, who have been authorized on his behalf in writing by the candidate by July 1.
Voting will take place on July 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the places of polling fixed under the rules.
The vote count will be on July 20, four days before incumbent Pranab Mukherjee’s term ends. The new President is set to take charge the next day. (IANS)