BJP parliamentary board to discuss presidential poll options

The party is likely to ask Amit Shah to take the final call. While speaking at "opinion-makers meet" with a select group of city residents from various sectors yesterday, he said his party supported free trade and free agriculture when BJP's predecessor Jana Sangh was formed and even today also his party stands for the same principle. Mr Shah said had any name been cited, the opposition would have complained that the government has already made up its mind.

Ram Nath Kovind is likely to file his papers on June 23, BJP president Amit Shah said after a almost two-hour meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Board. The party's parliamentary board will take stock of the talks this committee had with opposition leaders.

Though Shah did not disclose the names of any candidate for the post of President, he sought Thackeray's support for the NDA nominee which might be announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi later on Tuesday.

Communist Party of India leader D. Raja said the BJP's announcement was "non-transparent".

Naidu, Singh and finance minister Arun Jaitley are members of the committee constituted by BJP president Amit Shah for consultations with other parties on the presidential poll.

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"Paswan went to London for his treatment, and we all were waiting for him to come back".

Most opposition parties - including the Congress, the Left Front and the Trinamool Congress - are waiting for the BJP to name its candidate. SP members are understood to have expressed preference for a politician as President.

Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge, JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad Yadav, CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury, TMC leader Derek O'Brien, Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav, BSP's Satish Chandra Mishra, DMK leader R. S. Bharathi and NCP's Praful Patel are part of the sub-group. For each of these sets of candidate's nomination, the form has to be signed by at least 50 electors as proposers and 50 as seconders.

Nominations close on June 28 and the electoral college would hold a vote, should one be required, on July 17, according to the Election Commission of India.

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