The ruling alliance NDA declared an unfamiliar face as their nominee for the upcoming polls related to President of the India position. Former Jharkhand governor Draupadi Murmu, who comes from Odisha, has been nominated by the BJP’s parliamentary board. The opposition parties unitedly decided to choose former finance minister Yashwant Sinha as their candidate.
BJP president J P Nadda shared that the party wanted a consensus candidate for the post of president but talks with the opposition failed. “Defence minister Rajnath Singh and I approached various parties, including the UPA, but nothing concrete came out of the discussions. For this reason, we chose to run a common NDA candidate for president of India”, he stated.
He said that in the meeting of the BJP’s parliamentary board, there was a consensus on the fact that the new President of India should be from the East, a woman, and a representative of the Adivasi community (Ms Murmu is from Santhal community), which had never happened before.
The opposition’s choice of candidate took a circuitous route. Many big names opted out of the presidential elections. Finally, Mr. Sinha, an 84-year-old former bureaucrat turned politician and Ex-BJP member, was selected as the opposition’s official candidate following two rounds of deliberations and numerous informal encounters.
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INC leader Jairam Ramesh reading out a joint statement of the opposition parties alleged that the BJP government took no significant steps to ensure that a consensus candidate of the government and the Opposition was elected for the highest office of the Republic. He expressed regret that the ruling party didn’t try to negotiate on a consensus candidate.
Who is Draupadi Murmu?
According to the BJP, she’s a teacher who joined politics. She has served as a councillor, then as an MLA, and as the minister for fisheries, animal husbandry and commerce. She also won the Neelkanth award for best MLA in 2007. She is a suitable candidate for the role, according to a BJP spokesperson, as she has served as governor of Jharkhand from 2015 to 2021.
Murmu, who was born in the Santhal community, began her political career as a councillor in Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat in 1997 and ascended through the ranks to become a minister in the BJD-BJP alliance government in 2000 and then the Governor of Jharkhand in 2015.
Murmu told the media that she was surprised as well as delighted after learning the news of her candidature. “As a tribal lady from the isolated Mayurbhanj area, I had not thought about running for the top position”, she added.
Prime Minister Modi congratulated her and twitted that Smt Murmu has dedicated her life to the underprivileged and proclaimed that she will be a great President. BJP President JP Nadda also took to Twitter to congratulate her.
Yashwant Sinha’s Political Journey
Yashwant Singh became a member of the Janata Dal after he resigned from bureaucratic service in 1984. He became a Rajya in 1988 and later joined BJP in 1993. Under the Vajpayee government, he served as the Finance and External Affairs minister. After BJP lost power and LK Advani lost his political stronghold, he was sidelined in the party.
Three-time Lok Sabha MP from the Jharkhand district of Hazaribagh, he attempted in desperation to resurrect his political career, taking up causes like Kashmir as part of a “Rashtra Manch” with like-minded leaders and penning an autobiography called Relentless in 2019 before finally seeking refuge in the Trinamool Congress.
Before joining the Union government, he spent several years serving in various positions in Bihar and as a government representative abroad.
He served as First Secretary (Commercial) at the Indian Embassy in Bonn, Germany, between 1971 to 1973. He then served from 1973 to 1974 as the Indian Consul General in Frankfurt. He worked as a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Surface Transport before leaving the IAS.
Indian Presidential Election
The Presidential elections in India will be held on 18th July and might be concluded on 21st July.
Using an electoral college system, lawmakers from the federal and state levels vote to choose the president of India. The Election Commission (EC) of India oversees and conducts the elections. The elected members of the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament (Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs), as well as the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States and Union Territories, make up the electoral college (MLAs).
Before voting, there is the nomination stage, during which the prospective candidate submits their name together with a signed list of 50 proposers and 50 seconders. Any member of the electoral college at the State and federal levels may serve as a proposer or a seconder. The need for 50 proposers and seconders was put into place in 1974 after the EC discovered that multiple candidates, many of whom had only a remote chance of winning, would submit their nominations. The nomination of more than one candidate cannot be proposed or seconded by the same elector.
A nominated candidate wins by accumulating a predetermined number of votes rather than by winning with a simple majority. The electoral college’s paper ballots are added up by the EC during the counting process, and for a candidate to win, they must receive 50% of the total votes cast plus 1.