As President Pranab Mukherjee is set to complete his first term in office this July, the countdown for the 2017 Presidential elections has begun.
All major parties are discussing names of their probable candidates for the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The Opposition is trying to reach at a consensus on a common candidate for the post. Last night’s meeting between Congress president Sonia Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee set the stage for the Opposition’s agenda.
Here is the list of probable candidates for the NDA government:
1. Draupadi Murmu – The Jharkhand Governor is on top of the shortlist of the BJP. A surprise pick, if sworn-in, will become the first tribal President.
2. Sumitra Mahajan – The Lok Sabha Speaker is also said to be the frontrunner in the race to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
3. Thawar Chand Gehlot – The Union Minister for Social Development and Entrepreneurship is a noted Dalit face and a Modi-Amit Shah loyalist.
4. Justice P Sathasivam – The former Chief Justice of India is now the Kerala Governor.
5. LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi – The names of these two senior BJP leaders have been floated around for a long time but the Supreme Court verdict on Babri judgement may prove to be a setback for their hopes.
On the other hand, these are the probable nominees of Opposition for the post of the President.
1. Gopal Krishna Gandhi – The former West Bengal governor is not a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi but is also a well-known scholar. He is emerging as the Opposition’s top choice.
2. Fali Nariman – He is a senior advocate and the former Additional Solicitor General of India.
3. Sharad Pawar – The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief is believed to be considered for the post but the party said he has declined the offer.
4. Sharad Yadav – The senior JD(U) leader is also among the top choices.
5. Pranab Mukherjee – The incumbent may emerge as a common voice of the Opposition for a second consecutive term.
Opposition parties are all set to meet next week after which a common candidate will be decided. The ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, which has clear edge in the presidential election, has not given any inkling so far on its choice of candidate.