BJP’s nomination of Droupadi Murmu a ‘masterstroke’: Senior Congress leader Sukhram Rathva

Senior Gujarat Congress leader Sukhram Rathva said Monday that fielding Droupadi Murmu, a tribal woman candidate for the post of the President, was the BJP’s “masterstroke” even as he asserted that no MLA from his party in the state will indulge in cross-voting.

Rathva, the Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly, was interacting with the media after casting his vote in the election to choose India’s 15th President at the state Assembly along with other party MLAs. “I hope that whoever gets elected to the post of President, he or she will implement the provisions of the Constitution,” said Rathva.

Asked to comment on the BJP’s hopes that tribal MLAs of the Congress party will vote for the NDA’s presidential candidate as she is a tribal woman, Rathva said, “It is natural that when the 2022 (Gujarat) elections are round the corner before Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the BJP has announced a tribal woman (for presidential elections).”

“It will try to portray an image among tribals that we have given you a tribal president. And by creating such an atmosphere, it seems, it (BJP) has played a masterstroke to strengthen its stand. But the way voting has taken place, I don’t see any change in Gujarat,” added Rathva.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has fielded former Jharkhand governor Droupadi Murmu as its presidential candidate against the Opposition’s nominee Yashwant Sinha for the top constitutional post.

Education minister and spokesperson of the Gujarat government Jitu Vaghani said several political parties have expressed happiness over the candidature of Droupadi Murmu for the top post in the country. Vaghani said that political parties that are ideologically against the BJP have also announced their support for Murmu’s candidature.

Asked if Murmu will get votes from other parties, Vaghani said that the number of such cross-votes is going to rise all across the country.

The total strength of the Gujarat Assembly is 182. The ruling BJP has 111 members against the Congress party’s 63. The Bharatiya Tribal Party has two members and the Nationalist Congress Party has one member in the assembly. One seat is represented by an Independent and four seats are vacant due to different reasons.

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