To add to the weeks of speculation, during which names including LK Advani, Mohan Bhagwat and Gopalkrishna Gandhi were floated about, a Suvarna News exclusive reveals that the BJP candidate to be the next President of India may be Venkaiah Naidu, the current Minister for Housing and Urvan Poverty Alleviation and I&B. 

Sources confirmed to Suvarna News that the BJP, especially PM Modi, is keen to have a South Indian as the next President. The move, if confirmed, will be the biggest sign yet of the BJP's intention to make grand inroads into South India. By making a South Indian as President, the BJP might be looking to increase its brand value in the Southern states. 

Venkaiah Naidu, who is considered to be a frontrunner for the post, has been not only a strong minister in Modi’s Cabinet but also a strong spokesperson of the BJP. Naidu hails from Andhra Pradesh, was a Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka (1998 to 2016), and has been at the forefront of the BJP from the early 90s. 

Rather famously, unlike many South Indian leaders, he has not only learnt Hindi but has made public speeches in the language as well.  Also, Naidu was a Swayamsevak in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and joined the ABVP, the student wing, in his college days.

Other names in consideration include non-political stalwarts like Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy.

This news might be a huge disappointment to veteran leader SM Krishna, who recently left the Congress after a 50-year association and joined the BJP. The rumours at the time were that SM Krishna might be in contention to be the President, and hence chose to change parties. 

While the BJP already has about 48% of the required votes through the NDA, with the support of both factions of the AIADMK, the YSR Congress and a host of other smaller parties, it is believed that the BJP can muster more than the 51% of votes needed to clinch any candidate of their choice.

Election process

The President of India is elected by an electoral college, consisting of the elected members of both houses of Parliament, the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the 29 states and the elected members of the legislative assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry.

Currently, the electoral college has 776 MPs and 4120 MLAs. The total strength of the Electoral College is 10,98,882 votes. The halfway mark is 5,49,442 votes. After the latest state assembly elections and by-polls of 2017, NDA is short of some 20,000 votes.