NDA picks tribal woman as Presidential candidate

The NDA has announced its Presidential Candidate. Droupadi Murmu, a BJP member and former Governor of Jharkhand is set to be the next president of India considering that the NDA has the numbers. The Opposition has meanwhile named the 84 year old Yashwant Sinha as their candidate for the election scheduled for July 18. Earlier three of the Opposition backed nominees bowed out even before the nomination stage, which led the perceived weak “heavyweights” to go for Yashwant Sinha from Bihar, and announce him as the nominee of 18 political establishments including the Congress party. Predictably, there is neither surprise nor a murmur of acceptance nor any protest over Sinha’s candidature.
Yashwant Sinha has his strong points. He started as a civil servant and quit it to join the Total Revolution of Jaiprakash Narayan in the 1970s, which was essentially an offensive against the Congress party and Indira Gandhi. He later entered politics through the Janata Party and held cabinet minister posts repeatedly, handling important portfolios like Finance and External Affairs. When Narendra Modi was voted to parliament in 2014 and took control of the nation and the BJP, Sinha was among the elders he sidelined and consigned into the Margdarshak Mandal, of “over-aged” ‘advisers’ for the party. Sinha squirmed at this until Modi offered his son Jayant Sinha a ministerial post. A critical and dissatisfied Sinha later quit the BJP and joined the Trinamool Congress when chief minister Mamata Banerjee was attempting to give a national character to her TMC. The veteran politician however could not help the TMC make waves in his home-state of Bihar. His national appeal is limited because he had never attempted to build that aura around himself. Union ministers simply come and go.
While Sinha has the credentials to be a candidate for the presidential post, Droupadi Murmu being a tribal and a woman at that is symbolically what the BJP banks as its trump card. In fact, Murmu is the first Governor of Jharkhand to complete a five-year tenure. Yashwant Sinha’s plus point is his clean image except for the UTI scam to which he was allegedly linked. But even as 18 parties are backing Yaswant Sinha, the NDA alliance has the numbers in the electoral college. There is little scope for any surprise as far as the outcome of this poll is concerned. This is probably why the likes of Sharad Pawar and Farooq Abdullah recused themselves from what is an uneven race. The Opposition could have done better by coming up with a surprise name. The NDA has beaten them to it yet again by springing a complete surprise in Murmu’s nomination.

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