The BJP will talk to all political parties in the “true spirit of democracy” to evolve a broad consensus on the presidential nominee, Union minister Venkaiah Naidu said on Tuesday after party chief Amit Shah met him and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Naidu, however, “appealed to all that they should go by the mandate of the people which is for this government”, in what is seen as a subtle message to Opposition parties to be agreeable to the BJP-led NDA’s choice for the top constitutional post. The filing of the nomination for the post will begin from tomorrow. The election will be held on July 17 and counting will take place on July 20.
Besides Naidu and Jaitley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh is another member the three-member committee constituted by Shah on Monday to consult BJP allies as well as Opposition parties to evolve a consensus over the presidential poll.
“We have started internal consultations. We are the ruling party and we have to take everyone on board and work towards evolving a broad consensus and seek their support,” Naidu told reporters, asserting that the exercise will be done in the “true spirit of democracy”.
He also said that he has already spoken to the party chief and in the coming days, they (all the committee members) will be talking to leaders of other political parties.
BJP sources said all three committee members will speak to different parties. Jaitley shares warm relationship with several Opposition leaders and Naidu and Singh too have fine equations with various non-BJP parties.
The committee will also work to ensure that they gather enough support from regional parties to put the BJP-led NDA in the winning position in case Opposition parties put up a joint candidate and force a contest.
The ruling block already enjoys numerical advantage in the electoral college.
Leaders of top Opposition parties will meet on June 14 to hold consultations on the upcoming presidential election.
The term of incumbent Pranab Mukherjee ends on July 24 and that of Vice President M Hamid Ansari on August 10.