NDA’s candidate for the post of President of India, Droupadi Murmu, filed her nomination papers on Friday, ahead of the polls to be held on July 18th, flanked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president J P Nadda, Home Minister Amit Shah, chief ministers of all BJP ruled states, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, and Nagaland Neiphiu Rio as well as ministers of the BJD-government representing their party.
Members of other NDA parties including Anupriya Patel of the Apna Dal, Rajiv Ranjan Singh of the Janata Dal (U) and AIADMK leaders Thambidurai and O Panneerselvam were also present. The nomination papers were submitted with P C Modi, secretary general of the Rajya Sabha who is also the Returning Officer as per the notification by the Election Commission of India.
Interestingly, ahead of filling her nominations on Friday, Ms Murmu spoke to leaders of Opposition parties including Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and Trinamool Congress (TMC) seeking their party's support for her candidature, said sources. Ms Murmu spoke with Congress interim-President Sonia Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and NCP chief Sharad Pawar. According to the sources, Ms. Banerjee did not make any commitment to Ms Murmu but wished her all the best for the election.
Mr. Modi was proposed her name as nominee in the first set, out of four, of nomination papers filed by Ms Murmu. The second set of proposers were the chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, the third proposers were MLAs and MPs from Himachal and Haryana and the fourth set were MLAs and MPs from Gujarat.
Ms Murmu will be facing off against former finance minister in the Vajpayee government, Yashwant Sinha in the polls to elect the next President of India and is expected to win as she has garnered the support of not just the NDA grouping but several other parties like the YSRCP, and the BJD. YSRCP leader Vijay Sai Reddy was also present at the nomination.
She is a former Jharkhand Governor, a two term MLA from Odisha and served as minister in the BJP-BJD coalition government in the state between 2000-2004.
Sources in the BJP said following the nomination, an elaborate travel plan will be drawn up for Ms Murmu, for her to travel to various states of the country in order to draw support for her candidature. BJP president J P Nadda had earlier set up a 14 member committee headed by Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Shekhawat to coordinate and assist Ms Murmu during her travels.
Ms Murmu has been moved from Odisha Niwas in Chanakya Puri where she was temporarily staying to a bungalow in the Lutyen’s Bungalow Zone for her security. As per norms, she has been accorded Z plus security by the Union home ministry as soon as her candidature was announced by BJP president J P Nadda on Tuesday evening. Polls for the post of President of India will be held on July 18 and results announced on July 21.