BJP banks on Navin Patnaik, Jagan to coast past Oppn hurdles

Committed to 3 capitals, balanced regional development: Jagan

New Delhi, May 7 (IANS) Despite losing few states and alliance partners in the last five years, the BJP is comfortably placed to get its candidate elected as President of India in July. However, the current status of the Electoral College for the presidential poll has given a slight edge to the Opposition over the BJP led NDA.

The BJP strategists have two simple tasks to do to ensure the victory of the NDA candidate in the presidential election in July; first keep their votes intact and secondly win support of smaller or regional parties to fill the marginal gap in the electoral college.

Currently, Opposition parties collectively have 51.1 per cent share of the electoral college while the BJP and its alliance partners have 48.9 per cent. The mere two per cent difference can be easily managed by attaining the support of Opposition parties which are not comfortable in standing with the Congress.

A BJP insider said that responsibility to fill the gap in the electoral college will be given to senior leaders which include party chief J.P. Nadda, Union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari. Union ministers Bhupender Yadav and Dhramendra Pradhan may also be roped in to reach out to the Opposition camp for support.

The party insider said that the victory in all four states it ruled in recent assembly elections has ensured that the BJP candidate would not face much difficulty in the presidential election.

“Currently, the NDA needs only 1.2 per cent to cross the halfway mark and it is not difficult to achieve with the support of a like-minded party,” he said.

The BJP strategists are first trying to get support from Navin Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal and Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party (YSRCP).

“BJD and YSRCP have extended issue-based support to us in the past. With the support from both BJD and YSRCP, the NDA presidential candidate will easily manage to win the election. Both the party reportedly did not show interest in Congress’ call for support in the presidential election,” a senior BJP leader said.

Meanwhile, it has been learnt that the BJP will try to build consensus to avoid a contest by talking to key Opposition parties. “We believe that the President should be elected by consensus and the contest must be avoided. Our leadership may reach out to key Opposition parties to build a consensus over the choice of candidate. We will try to avoid a contest but if the Opposition parties do not agree to our request, we will fight the presidential election and ensure victory of the NDA candidate,” another insider said.

In the last presidential election in 2017, NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind won with 65.65 per cent votes of the Electoral College. In 2017, the NDA was in power in 21 states, however, in 2022, as many as 18 states are being governed by the BJP or its alliance partners.

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