Droupadi Murmu is likely to become the first tribal female President
SHILLONG, June 23 (PTI): The ruling BJP-backed Meghalaya Democratic Alliance will support BJP candidate Droupadi Murmu and a decision in this regard will be taken at a meeting of the coalition partners, a senior member in it said.
Five Congress MLAs who were suspended for supporting the MDA are also likely to vote in favour of Murmu.
Chief minister Conrad K Sangma has already spoken to most leaders of parties in the MDA and the suspended Congress MLAs and sought a response on who the parties are supporting in the July presidential elections, he said.
The chief minister has indicated that he will soon convene a meeting in this regard to finalise on voting in favour of a common consensus candidate, he told PTI.
“The chief minister has also indicated he is in favour of the NDA presidential candidate, who is a woman and a tribal. He has said that it will be a proud moment for tribal communities across the country,” he said on Wednesday.
Sangma, who is the NPP national president, is likely to convene the MDA meeting after his return from his tour to flood affected areas in South Garo Hills.
The chief minister praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet on Tuesday night for the choice of the NDA presidential candidate.
“Thanking @PMOIndia, @narendramodi Ji for nominating an indigenous tribal woman candidate, Smt Draupadi Murmu Ji as the presidential candidate,” he tweeted.
“It was a long-cherished dream of my father, late P A Sangma to have a tribal president of our country. My best wishes to her,” he said.
P A Sangma was in fact the first tribal candidate to contest the presidential elections in 2012. He was supported by BJP and its allies but lost the contest to Pranab Mukherjee.
The five suspended Congress MLAs who have officially supported the ruling MDA are in all likelihood to vote for Murmu.
“At first, we wanted to abstain from voting in the presidential elections due to our suspension. But after the Prime Minister announced Murmu as the NDA candidate, I made up my mind that I will vote for her,” former Congress minister Ampareen Lyngdoh told PTI.
She lauded BJP for choosing the first tribal woman to occupy the country’s highest constitutional post and said she has already spoken to Conrad Sangma and let him know her decision.
Asked, she said the four other suspended Congress MLAs are also likely to vote for Murmu.
Meghalaya chief electoral officer F R Kharkongor said the number and value of votes of MLAs and MPs are based on the population in 1971.
“Based on the formula the value of votes of each MLA in Meghalaya is 17 votes,” he said.
The total votes of MLAs from Meghalaya is 1,020, he added.
The President is elected by an electoral college which consists of elected members of both houses of Parliament and elected members of all the state legislative assemblies and union territories.
Nominated members of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha or legislative assemblies and legislative councils are not included in the electoral college.
The five-year term of President Ram Nath Kovind ends on July 24 and the Election Commission has fixed July 18 as the date of polling. Counting of votes will take place on July 21.