The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is slowly but surely moving towards the majority mark for the presidential elections when the process for polls gets under way in July after Pranab Mukherjee demits office as President of India. The alliance, led by the BJP, got a shot in the arm last week when YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy announced his support for the alliance nominee who is yet to be chosen.
The Andhra-based outfit of YSR Congress was being watched with keen interest because it was uncommitted thus far. With Jaganmohan Reddy meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Wednesday, the announcement of support came promptly. Considering that another fence-sitter, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), had indicated last week that his party would vote with the BJP in the presidential elections, the NDA is all set to sail through in the crucial contest.
The spectacular BJP performance in the Assembly elections in UP which has a lion’s share of electoral votes in the presidential elections and in Uttarakhand had already made BJP’s position unassailable, but there was a small shortfall that BJP was looking to make up. The YSR Congress has nine members in the Lok Sabha, one in the Rajya Sabha and a sizeable presence in the Andhra Assembly, all of which will come in handy for the BJP in the July contest.
Opposition parties across the country are holding parleys to put up as united a front as possible so that jointly they do not lose face but if there was any hope of winning the presidential race, that has been virtually dashed. Even in Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK, which is in the saddle, is expected to go with the NDA. Naveen Patnaik’s BJD has not decided which way it would go but it would make little difference. The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party used to be big players but the UP polls have made them virtual non-entities.
At one stage, Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (U) was seemingly toying with the idea of breaking ranks with the Opposition but it is now unlikely to do so. It now devolves on the BJP which is by far the largest party in terms of seats across the country to choose the right candidate for the high office. All eyes will indeed be on the BJP to see on whom it invests its faith.