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BJP forms 3-member panel to seek consensus on Presidential election

Election will be held on July 17, though BJP has not declared its nominee yet

IANS  |  New Delhi 

Grind begins for presidential election
The Election Commission has announced that voting to elect India's next President will be held on July 17.

The on Monday said it is for a consensus candidate for the Presidential and formed a three-member committee of senior ministers to talk to other political parties.

Two former Presidents (Minister of Home Affairs) and M. Venkaiah Naidu (Minister of Urban Development), as well as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, are members of the committee, the Bharatiya Janata Party said in a statement.

"The committee will hold talks with leaders of various political parties over the Presidential and try to evolve a consensus," the said.

The Presidential will be held on July 17. President Pranab Mukherjee's term ends on July 24.

The BJP has so far not given any indication about its likely nominee but opposition parties including the have held parleys to find a consensus candidate.

The opposition has made it clear that they would await the choice of the ruling side before announcing its strategy.

The opposition parties want a candidate who should be able to protect the Constitution, implying the choice should be a secular person.

The opposition has also said that if a consensual candidate does not emerge, they will field a candidate "who will steadfastly defend the constitutional values".

Opposition parties will meet on June 14 to formally begin discussions on the Presidential and Vice Presidential elections.

President Sonia Gandhi has initiated moves to bring the opposition parties on a common platform for the election.

Gandhi earlier this month constituted a 10-member sub-group of representatives from opposition parties to take forward the deliberations and discussions on the election.

"Members of the sub-group will meet on Wednesday to formally begin their discussion on Presidential and Vice Presidential elections," a senior opposition leader said.

The sub-group consists of Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress), Sharad Yadav (JD-U), Lalu Prasad (RJD), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Derek O'Brien (TMC), Ram Gopal Yadav (SP), Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP), R.S. Bharathi (DMK) and Praful Patel (NCP).

First Published: Mon, June 12 2017. 15:24 IST