In continuation of its 2017 position, the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP has decided to support the Opposition-backed candidate, Yashwant Sinha, in the upcoming presidential elections.
The Aam Aadmi Party’s decision came after the Political Affairs Committee, the party’s highest-decision making body, met under the leadership of AAP National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The AAP backing for Sinha comes just two days before the presidential elections on July 18.
Speaking to reporters, AAP MP Sanjay Singh, also a member of the PAC, said: “Under the leadership of AAP National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the party’s PAC met and unanimously decided that in these presidential elections, we will support the Opposition candidate, Yashwant Sinha.”
Rajya Sabha MP Singh added that the party respects NDA candidate Draupadi Murmu, but will extend support to Yashwant Sinha on Monday.
The AAP has 92 MLAs in Punjab, 62 MLAs in Delhi and 10 MPs in the Rajya Sabha. Seven of these MPs are from Punjab. Though it’s support may not be a game-changer in the presidential elections, it is significant that the party has made its political position clear. It is important to note that supporting the NDA candidate might not have gone down well with the AAP’s legislators in Punjab.
While Sanjay Singh has had multiple meetings with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who is a key player in deciding the Opposition strategy, the AAP skipped all Opposition meetings in Delhi, the first of which was held on June 15, despite an invitation by TMC chief Mamata Banerjee. The AAP also skipped the joint opposition meeting on June 21, which decided on Yashwant Sinha as its candidate. It was also absent when Yashwant Sinha filed his nomination.
While Yashwant Sinha had called on Arvind Kejriwal for support, neither the NDA nor its candidate Draupadi Murmu had reached out to the AAP chief.
The AAP stand comes even as many Opposition parties, including Congress ally JMM, declared support for Murmu. The Shiv Sena, despite being toppled from power in Maharashtra by the Eknath Shinde faction and BJP, has declared support for Murmu. Similarly, Murmu has received backing from
BSP, Shiromani Akali Dal, Biju Janata Dal and YSR Congress Party among others.
In the 2017 presidential elections, the AAP had announced support for Meira Kumar, who was the joint candidate of Opposition parties. Ram Nath Kovind, who was the NDA candidate, went on to win the election with the support of non-NDA parties like the BJD.