JMM’s Droupadi Murmu support shatters Opposition unity

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, July 14: After the Election Commission of India announced the date for the election of President, the spotlight on the Opposition unity turned gloomy on Thursday after the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) supremo Shibu Soren signed the statement for the party’s support to the National Democratic Alliance candidate Droupadi Murmu.

After the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and the Shiv Sena, the JMM too has backed Murmu in the July 18 President’s election, leaving the joint Opposition nominee Yashwant Sinha stranded.

The Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren had no worries on Murmu’s tribal background since his father Shibu Soren is himself projected by his party leaders and workers as the top icon of the Santhals in Jharkhand.

That Hemant Soren took weeks to make his choice in the Presidential election even while Yashwant Sinha hails from his state, besides representing the Hazaribagh Lok Sabha constituency for several terms may make one to wonder if the Jharkhand Chief Minister is facing too much of heat.

The office of profit case against Hemant Soren is too serious, while the rank and file of the JMM are speculating if the Chief Minister will take a leaf out of the political book of former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad Yadav and install his wife as the successor to run the government in the event the Election Commission decides against him.

In the 2017 Presidential election, the BJP-led NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind had polled 65 per cent vote share. By all accounts, Murmu seems sailing in the July 18 Presidential elections and she may surpass Kovind’s vote count by miles, with the political observers even claiming that she could even fetch 75 per cent votes in the Electoral College.

The Aam Admi Party, ruling in Delhi and Punjab, also commands sizable vote share, and is equally vulnerable to fall for the tribal card of the BJP in the Presidential election since its chief Arvind Kejriwal has set eyes on Gujarat, West Bengal and other states for expansion.

By choosing Yashwant Sinha as the joint candidate, the Opposition revealed lack of cohesion in making strategies, as the constituents failed to gauge that the BJP would reveal an ace in the prestigious election to set the long-term narrative.

The might of the BJP’s Murmu choice is such that even the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also gone on a mute mode in the Presidential election.

The course of the Presidential election has revealed that the Opposition camp is full of self-serving constituents, who are too vulnerable to raise a campaign against the powerful BJP in the near term.

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