While talks are going on among Opposition parties leaders to form unity and field a common candidate for the presidential election 2017, Opposition leaders also hinted to support incumbent Pranab Mukherjee if he gets second term as the President of India. Leaders involved in deliberations to evolve consensus among Opposition parties reportedly said they will back Pranab Mukherjee if Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominates him for the second term at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
President Pranab Mukherjee has indicated to close confidants that he is not interested in another term and Narendra Modi government is unlikely to re-nominate him. Moreover, no President other than the first, Babu Rajendra Prasad, has had a second term. Also, there is no precedence of an incumbent contesting a presidential election. According to media reports, a bungalow is being readied as retirement house for Pranab Mukherjee. Opposition parties are waiting for government’s choice of candidate before taking any call.
“The onus is entirely on the government to let all know its views on the next President and whether it wants another term for the incumbent President. It has been the tradition for the government to take the initiative on the matter,” said a senior leader involved in the Opposition deliberations was quoted as saying by the Economic Times. In 2012, Pranab Mukherjee had received support from from even some NDA allies such as JDU and Shiv Sena. Also, 11 non-UPA parties such as Trinamool Congress, CPM, SP and BSP supported Mukherjee’s candidature. President Pranab Mukherjee’s term as President of India will end in July.
Name of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar is also doing round in Opposition’ camp. According to a report, Sharad Pawar is willing to contest the presidential election if there is unity among the Opposition parties. Pawar has support of Shiv Sena as well. There are 4,896 voters in the electoral college for the presidential election, with a total of 10,98,882 votes. The ruling NDA is about 20,000 votes short of the 5,49,442 votes required for a majority.