Though President Pranab Mukherjee has praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi a few times, he has taken a subtle dig at the BJP for ignoring the Opposition and the contribution of previous governments at the Centre.
At the India Today Conclave 2017 in Mumbai last week, President Mukherjee reminded PM Modi of good work done by the previous Congress government. The two leaders share an uncomfortable relationship largely because of their contrasting political background and adherence to diverging ideologies.
Time is approaching to elect a new President of India. PM Modi is unlikely to continue with a President from Congress background. And, recent Assembly elections have given PM Modi robust numbers to have a president of his choice.
WHO ELECTS PRESIDENT
All the elected members of Legislative Assemblies of all the states and the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry vote in the presidential election.
The election to choose the next President is due in July. President Mukherjee will complete his tenure on July 24 this year.
The value of votes of MPs and MLAs are different and are calculated on the basis of a formula devised to represent proportional share of population.
At present, an MP contributes 708 votes while the vote of an MLA varies for different states in accordance with their population in 1971. Each Uttar Pradesh MLA carries 208 votes while that of Sikkim contributes 7 votes in the presidential election.
Total votes for the presidential election is about 11 lakh (10.99 lakh). The total pool of votes is almost equally shared by 4,120 MLAs and 776 MPs. Both groups contribute over 5.49 lakh votes each.
AFTER ASSEMBLY ELECTION RESULTS
The Assembly election results in five states recently have helped the BJP immensely. BJP's recently elected MLAs in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa and Punjab along with the allies have improved NDA's share in the electoral college by over 6.5 per cent.
The BJP along with its NDA partners now controls 47.5 per cent of total vote pool for presidential election.
Though, the BJP could be confident of getting support of all other allies, Shiv Sena may decide to vote differently. It has done so in the past when the two were more friendly.
On the previous two occasions, Shiv Sena went with Congress's candidates Pratibha Patil in 2007 and Pranab Mukherjee in 2012.
Shiv Sena has about 2.5 percent vote in the presidential poll.
The NDA minus Shiv Sena needs five percent votes from outside. If Modi manages to get AIADMK along, he can easily go ahead with his plans. AIADMK has nearly 5.5 per cent share in the presidential electoral college.
The BJP can further work with the BJD, which has about 3.5 percent votes in the electoral pool. YSR Jagan Mohan's YSR Congress with about two per cent and TRS with over 1.5 per cent votes may provide additional cushion for the
BJP, which can be sure of getting their votes as they have displayed a tendency of going along with the party ruling at the Centre.
SUPPORT FROM REGIONAL PARTIES CRUCIAL
If the BJP manages to pull these regional parties along and keep Shiv Sena in good stead for the presidential election, the alliance will have about 60 per cent votes of the electoral college in its favour.
This figure, though, is not as robust as Congress managed in 2012 despite having lesser number of its own. Mukherjee was elected President of India with over 69 per cent votes against BJP-backed P Sangma. UPA at that time had only 33 per cent votes.
If PM Modi decides to have former Deputy PM LK Advani as his candidate for President's post, he may expect Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD-U voting differently from its alliance partner RJD. The JD-U has little less than two per cent vote in the electoral pool (1.88 per cent). The NCP has already shown inclinations to align with the BJP at various levels. This puts the BJP and PM Modi in more comfortable position. Their only problem seems to be finding a candidate to replace Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan.