New Delhi, June 14: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) may announce External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj as its nominee for the presidential election 2017. The name of Sushma Swaraj could be discussed when the three-member group of the BJP will meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi in a bid to evolve a consensus on the nominee. To discuss presidential election, senior BJP leaders — Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu — will meet Sonia Gandhi and CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Friday.

According to a report of News 18, which quoted a top BJP leader, Sushma Swaraj is emerging as the frontrunner to become NDA’s nominee for the next President of India. Sushma Swaraj, who has the endorsement of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), fulfills all the criteria laid down by the BJP leadership. Sushma Swaraj commands respect across party lines and the BJP leadership believes the Opposition might not be in position to oppose her candidature for next President of India. (ALSO READ: A dummy’s guide on how the President of India is elected)

“Look, we have tied up the numbers. So there is no need to go for someone outside the Sangh Parivar. We have decided that our candidate will come from the BJP stable, will be someone moored in the Sangh tradition, and will be an active politician,” the top BJP leader was quoted as saying. “Leaders like Mamata Banerjee and Naveen Patnaik will find it difficult to oppose her (Sushma Swaraj),” he added.

A seven-time MP and three-time MLA, Sushma Swaraj has earned respect across the political spectrum and of public with her remarkable work as the Minister of External Affairs. She has become a star on social media with her active and personal interventions in bringing home stranded Indians.

Among the names doing the rounds as possible NDA candidate are Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu. There is talk in the BJP circles that the RSS could pitch for another veteran Murli Manohar Joshi. It is learnt that Sangh was equally keen on Sushma Swaraj’s candidature.

As per the schedule announced by the Election Commission of India, the election to choose the next President of India will be held on July 17, while the result of Presidential polls will be declared on July 20.  The NDA candidate for the presidential election is likely to file nomination before June 24.