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Vying for consensus
The opposition parties have begun talks on putting up a common candidate in order to pressure the ruling BharatiyaJanata Party to settle for a consensus candidate as India’s next President. Over the last three years, the ruling government has shown no inclination to be accommodative of the opposition’s views, either in formulating legislation or in framing policies. A reflection of this is the strategy of bypassing the RajyaSabha, by disguising important pieces of legislation as money bills. Thus, rather than wait in the possibly false hope that the BJP may opt for a consensus candidate for President, the Congress has decided to initiate talks with other parties on fielding a common candidate. After the election of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2002, India has not had an apolitical presidential candidate acceptable to both the Congress and the BJP. Both PratibhaPatil and Pranab Mukherjee were Congress politicians and the BJP fielded candidates against them. In all likelihood, this time the BJP will have its own candidate considering their strong electoral numbers both at the Centre and the states.

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