Droupadi Murmu vs Yashwant Sinha: Elections are being held today to choose the 15th President of India – a race between NDA candidate Draupadi Murmu and Yashwant Sinha of the opposition.
Droupadi Murmu vs Yashwant Sinha
However, the contest is seen as a complete finish, counting the parties that declared support for Ms. Murmu.
The election coincides with the first day of the monsoon session of Parliament. Draupadi Murmu, 64, was a strong contender for the country’s highest post before the 2017 presidential election, with Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit, named as the government’s choice.
The NDA’s choice of Ms Murmu – a tribal woman from Odisha and former Jharkhand governor – is seen as a well thought out move, supported not only by Jharkhand’s ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, but also by Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik, seen as a fence-sitter.
Ms Murmu has also been assured of support by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who has been on the same page as ally BJP until recently.
Both factions of the Shiv Sena – whose split and the subsequent collapse of the Maharashtra government have been in the news for weeks – are also expected to support Ms. Murmu.
While the BJP-affiliated Eknath Shinde faction was supporting the NDA candidate, the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction is also supporting him.
The Thackeray faction, which was backing opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha, decided to switch after 16 MPs met Uddhav Thackeray and suggested they should vote for Ms Murmu. Mr. Sinha has claimed that Mr. Thackeray has been forced to support Ms. Murmu.
The opposition settled on Mr Sinha – a former Union minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government who later joined the Trinamool Congress – after three proposed candidates said no.
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, former governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah had refused, citing various reasons.
The President is elected by the members of the Electoral College, which includes both the Houses of Parliament and the Legislative Assemblies of all states, as well as elected members of the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
No party whip can be issued for voting, and MPs and MLAs can vote as they wish.
As per the schedule announced by the Election Commission, the counting of votes will take place on July 21 and the new President will take oath on July 25.