Presidential Election: NDA Candidate Murmu Gains Support from BJD, Yashwant Sinha Calls it an Ideolo


On Wednesday, NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu appeared to be on track to win the presidential election after receiving crucial BJD support, but Opposition nominee Yashwant Sinha insisted that he is fighting an ideological battle and that the country should not have a "rubber-stamp president." Murmu, who belongs to the Santhal tribal community in Odisha, has around 52 percent votes (around 5,67,000 votes) out of a total of 10,86,431 votes cast by all electors.


This includes 3,08,000 votes cast by BJP and its allies in parliament. The BJD has approximately 32,000 votes in the electorate, accounting for approximately 2.9 percent of the total. While on a tour of Italy, BJD president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik urged all members of the state Assembly to support Murmu, 64, in the July 18 election, describing her as the state's daughter.


Murmu sought divine blessings early Wednesday morning as she swept the floor of a Shiva temple in her home in Rairangpur, a nondescript tribal-dominated Rairangpur town in Odisha's Mayurbhanj district. It has been a daily ritual for her since she returned to Jharkhand in August 2021 after retiring as governor. After a bath, she offered prayers at the temple and whispered into the ears of Nandi, Lord Shiva's bull 'vahana,' as is customary in the region.


The temple was cordoned off by CRPF commandos assigned to her by the Centre shortly after she was named the NDA presidential nominee by BJP president J P Nadda on Tuesday night. According to officials, the decision by the Ministry of Home Affairs was based on a threat perception security report generated by central security agencies.


Hundreds of people gathered to greet Murmu at her home and later when she drove the 285-kilometer journey to Bhubaneswar. However, Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra stated that the BJP has fielded Murmu in the presidential election with an eye on the BJD's votes in the electoral college.


We may not support her in the elections, even though she is the most qualified candidate, he said. Murmu, the first tribal President and the youngest to hold the position if elected, is also expected to receive support from other regional parties, including the AIADMK and the YSRCP.


She is likely to file her nomination on June 24 and is expected to be accompanied by top NDA leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sinha, who will file his presidential nomination on June 27, held his first campaign strategy meeting on Wednesday at the NCP headquarters in Delhi.


In an interview with reporters, Sinha, 84, stated that the presidential election is a fight for the country's problems rather than an individual battle. "I am grateful to all of the political parties that have allowed me to run for president. This election is not a personal battle for me. There are issues facing the country on which the electoral college must make a decision "said the former Union minister, who left the BJP in 2018 and has been a vocal critic of Modi's government.


The 84-year-old Sinha said in a statement to reporters that the presidential race is not a contest between individuals but rather a struggle over national problems. "I am appreciative of all the political parties that allowed me to participate in the presidential elections. I'm not fighting alone in this election. There are challenges the nation is dealing with that the electoral college must decide on, "The former Union minister, who left the BJP in 2018 and has been a vociferous opponent of the Modi administration, stated.


Sinha stated in a statement that, if elected, he will steadfastly uphold the fundamental principles and guiding objectives of the Constitution without fear or favor. He further claimed that the Center is "attempting to strip the state governments of their legitimate rights and powers" and that this attack on the federal structure of the Constitution will be recognized as wholly unacceptable.


"I will speak up for the common people - kisans, workers, young people without jobs, women, and all socially marginalized groups," Sinha declared. J P Nadda, the president of the BJP, also met with party officials involved in the election.


To win the backing of politicians and political parties, both contenders are likely to travel widely around the nation. With the surprise selection of former Jharkhand Governor Murmu to follow President Ram Nath Kovind, a member of the Dalit community, the BJP looks to have been able to sway some undecided voters.


Out of the current strength of 776 members from both Houses, the BJP alone has 393 MPs, excluding four nominated Rajya Sabha members who cannot vote. This gives it a clear majority. When the strength of its allies like the Janata Dal (United), which has 21 MPs in total, the Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party, Apna Bihar Chief Minister, and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar expressed "delight" over the announcement of Murmu's candidacy, the BJP's numerical advantage in Parliament—which has almost half of the votes in the electoral college, which also includes all elected MLAs—was further increased.


The chief minister issued a statement saying, "Many thanks to the prime minister for appointing a tribal woman who has demonstrated her mettle as a minister in Odisha and during her gubernatorial stint in Jharkhand." The second-largest member of the BJP-led NDA is Kumar's JD(U).


Despite not being a member of the NDA at the time, the Bihar Chief Minister backed the election of outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind in 2017 after the Congress-led UPA rejected his request for Pranab Mukherjee to serve a second term. Prem Singh Tamang, the chief minister of Sikkim, endorsed Murmu and pledged the support of his Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, a member of the NDA, with the hope that she will become the first president of a tribal ethnic group. Meanwhile, Uma Bharti, a BJP politician and a former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, encouraged Yashwant Sinha to drop out of the contest.


There cannot be a better example of the empowerment of women and Scheduled Tribes than the Odisha leader occupying the top constitutional position, according to BJP leader and Union minister Giriraj Singh, who also pleaded with Congress president Sonia Gandhi to support Murmu. The deadline to submit nominations is June 29, and the election results will be announced on July 21.


If elected, Murmu will also hold the distinction of being the first citizen of Odisha to hold the top constitutional position. The term of President Kovind expires on July 24.

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