Updated: Tue, 21 Jun 2022 12:42 PM IST
While deliberations are still going on in the opposition camp for the Presidential elections slated to be held on July 18, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has narrowed down to a few names and is expected to announce its candidate soon.
According to a report by news agency IANS, the saffron party has zeroed on the names of Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan and former Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu.
The report quoting sources claimed the BJP is focusing on tribals as elections are scheduled to be held in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh where tribal voters are key to the party's scheme of things.
Looking at the aspect, the BJP might name Murmu as its Presidential candidate. Plus, the 64-year-old might also help the party attract women voters.
However, Arif Khan is also a candidate for the post. Nominating Khan for the President's post might help BJP attract Muslim votes. Along with that, it will also help the party deal with the Islamic nations, who recently criticised the country for Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal's statement against Prophet Mohammad.
Notably, Khan is well learned about the Islamic world and has been defending the BJP for several years over issues on minorities.
However, a final decision in this regard will likely be taken during the BJP's parliamentary board meeting on Tuesday, which will also be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Are there any other names that the BJP is considering?
Besides Khan and Murmu, the BJP is also considering the name of Thawar Chand Gehlot, as per media reports. Gehlot, an ex-minister in the Modi government, is a prominent Dalit leader and like Murmu, nominating him for President's post can help the BJP attract tribal votes.
The saffron party, as per reports, might also give a chance to Telangana governor Tamilisai Soundararajan. Soundararajan, a Nadar leader, was a key member of the BJP's Tamil Nadu unit and can help the party build in-roads in the southern state, where the NDA was voted out of power in assembly elections last year.
The name of Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is also being considered for the President's post. Like Arif Khan, Naqvi, a Shia Muslim, can help the BJP pose itself as secular and attract Muslims.
Notably, Naqvi has not also been nominated for the Rajya Sabha, which could be a hint that he might be the NDA's candidate for the Presidential polls.
Will Nitish Kumar get a chance?
According to a report by The Indian Express, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) has put forth the name of Nitish Kumar as a candidate for the Presidential polls. The party feels Kumar "can be a good candidate for the President of India".
However, Kumar himself has ruled him out of the race. "I am not in the Presidential race," he said earlier this month, as reported by news agency PTI.
Here it must be mentioned that even some leaders in the BJP are not in favour of Kumar as he is a "tough ally" and is "unreliable".