Presidential Election: Naveen Remains Non-Committal On Support To NDA Candidate

Bhubaneswar: Even as BJD’s support will prove a deciding factor for election of NDA’s Presidential candidate, the regional party’s president and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik remained non-committal on the matter.

Though Naveen did not clarify whether BJD will support the candidate of ruling NDA as it did in case of Ramnath Kovind in 2017 election or a united opposition, he said it depends on the candidate. “Let’s see who the candidate is, that is more important,” the NDTV quoted him as saying in New Delhi.

As the NDA currently falls short by about 1.2% of the total votes for its Presidential candidate to get elected, the BJD’s support will enable it to cross the half-way mark. With 21 MPs in both houses of the Parliament, the regional party holds around 3.22% share of votes. The Presidential election is scheduled to be held in July.

According to sources, the NDA will try to reach a consensus in consultation with its allies, including supporting parties like YSR Congress and BJD. At the same time, the opposition parties are trying to rally to put up a joint candidate with support from regional parties like Trinamool Congress, DMK, Shiv Sena and Telangana Rashtra Samiti.

The President of India is elected by an electoral college that’s formed by 776 parliamentarians and 4,120 legislators.

On possible third front for Lok Sabha elections in 2024 also, Naveen kept the cards close to his chest. “It’s still early days. We will look into it when the matter comes up,” he said. However, he said his party prefers its independence from any political formation.

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