Presidential poll: Congress sulks, BJP rejoices

BJP bowled a googly by nominating Murmu leaving the Congress-led opposition in disarray. The opposition has fielded Yashwant Sinha.

By CR Gowri Shanker  Published on  15 July 2022 5:41 AM GMT
Presidential poll: Congress sulks, BJP rejoices

Hyderabad: Politics make strange bedfellows!

Presidential elections fit this adage and could see new political realignments in the country as rivals support National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Presidential nominee Draupadi Murmu.

Similarly, once allies with BJP are now opposing its nominee tooth and nail.

BJP bowled a googly by nominating Murmu leaving the Congress-led opposition in disarray. The opposition has fielded Yashwant Sinha.

Some parties are in dilemma whether to oppose or not the first tribal woman candidate for august office. Strangely, Opposition parties attack BJP but not its nominee!

Fearing losing tribal support in their states in the long run, some parties blame BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not taking the Opposition into confidence before finalizing a tribal woman as Presidential candidate.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was instrumental in finalizing the Opposition nominee, was one. She said Draupadi Murmu could have been a consensus candidate!

The reason is anyone's guess. West Bengal and several other states have sizeable tribal population and Opposition parties like TMC fear it may affect their future electoral prospects in opposing a woman tribal candidate for the President's post.

Mamata Banerjee, according to the latest reports, decided to campaign herself in West Bengal instead of inviting Yashwant Sinha as he is doing in other states, least it may antagonize her tribal electorate.

Some parties turned around and extended support or showed a soft corner to the BJP nominee.

The latest classic example is Shiv Sena, a friend turned foe of the BJP. After a humiliating breakup of the party by a faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on the issue of alienating BJP and Hindutva ideology, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray who is in alliance with Congress and NCP made a somersault and announced his decision to back BJP Presidential candidate. He earned the wrath of his ally Congress and MVA in tatters.

"We are happy that a tribal woman is becoming the President," Thackeray said on the reason for supporting the BJP nominee.

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha which is in the opposition league and runs a coalition government with Congress too seems to have developed cold feet since the party is the voice of tribals.

This Presidential election episode reminds 1969 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi backed V V Giri instead of her Congress nominee Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy over a power tussle within the party.

Draupadi Murmu has turned out to be BJP's trump card and a master stroke. Her nomination has created tremors and forced some rivals to come on one platform!

Telugu states are no exception. While TRS Government led by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in Telangana State is supporting Congress Presidential nominee Yashwant Sinha, Andhra Pradesh YSRCP Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy is backing BJP's Murmu.

Interestingly, KCR is fighting a bitter battle with not only BJP but also Congress in Telangana yet supporting Congress Presidential nominee. TRS and Congress are on one platform now.

War with BJP has become so intense that KCR skipped receiving Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Hyderabad thrice but went overboard to receive Yashwant Sinha.

Though writing on the wall is clear on who wins, KCR, who planned a Third front and TRS into BRS--a national party, feels the Presidential election will be a close contest and it was anybody's game.

Similarly, Jagan Mohan Reddy who is fighting both BJP and Telugu Desam in Andhra Pradesh is now on the same page supporting the BJP nominee. Even his arch-rival TDP does not want to miss the bus.

"Our party always stood for social justice and the only state to show the way was Andhra Pradesh. As a part of this commitment, we are going a step forward and extending support to her candidature, ensuring her win and which is also the need," Reddy said

YSRCP arch-rival, Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu too gave his reasons for supporting the BJP nominee. "TDP always stood for social justice. It supported K R Narayanan and APJ Abdul Kalam for the President's post in the past. In the same spirit, we are extending support to Murmu, the first Adivasi woman chosen for the highest constitutional post," he said

Call it political compulsions or likely realignment of political forces in the future, the presidential election is certainly out for an interesting finish!

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