NEW DELHI: In an apparent hint that the ruling BJP at the Centre was inching towards the much awaited decision on its nominee for the Presidential election, the NDA meeting is likely to take place on Monday. While the party panel consisting of Union Ministers – Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitely and M Venkaiah Naidu – are likely to wrap up consultation exercise by Tuesday, the Left has set June 20 as the deadline to unveil the official candidate for the government.
“The NDA meeting may be called on Monday evening. Since the BJP panel of three ministers has consulted the wide spectrum of the political class on evolving consensus, it’s now time to consult own allies,” said a senior BJP functionary.
The NDA, which consists of 29 parties, has not yet met on the issue of Presidential election. The BJP chief Amit Shah has also told reporters in Mumbai that the party would soon consult the allies before deciding the Presidential candidate.
With the Finance Minister Arun Jaitely, who also holds the portfolio of Defence, embarking on four days long trip of Russia on June 20, sources said that the BJP panel of ministers would wrap up their exercise by Tuesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also leaving for foreign visit on June 24. “A few of the NDA allies have already conveyed to the BJP panel that they would abide by the decision of the Prime Minister for Presidential election. The NDA meeting may mark the formal final consultation before the Prime Minister and the party chief take the final decision,” added the BJP functionary.
Clearly anticipating that the BJP is close to declaring the official nominee, the CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Saturday said that if the NDA failed to reveal its name for the Presidential election by June 20, he would exhort the Opposition to announce the joint candidate on June 21.
With suspense building up, posters of the BJP patriarch L K Advani “being hailed as the most suitable candidate for the Presidential election” was put up by a person whose credentials were not immediately known outside the 11, Ashoka Road headquarter of the saffron outfit, besides various other locations. Union Minister for external affairs Sushma Swaraj sought to dismiss the claims that she is in the reckoning for the Presidential race. “I am a minister for external affairs and you’re asking something which is an internal affair,” quipped Swaraj on Saturday when asked about her name doing the rounds for the highest Constitutional post.