Arvind Kejriwal's AAP To Back Yashwant Sinha For President. Here's Why

The AAP is the only non-BJP, non-Congress party having governments in two states -- Delhi and Punjab.

New Delhi:

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party will back Yashwant Sinha, the opposition's candidate for Monday's presidential election, the party said today.

"We have respect for (NDA candidate) Droupadi Murmu, but we will support Yashwant Sinhaji," senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, announced after a meeting of the party's Political Advisory Committee (PAC).

The AAP is the only non-BJP, non-Congress party with governments in two states - Delhi and Punjab.

It has 10 Rajya Sabha MPs from the two states including three from Delhi and 156 MLAs including 92 in Punjab, 62 in Delhi and two in Goa who will vote in the election.

Despite softening its stance when it comes to taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP from its early days of vociferous attacks and everyday run-ins, AAP insiders say the Arvind Kejriwal camp is fully committed to not being seen standing with the ruling party.

Siding with the BJP would have not played well as the AAP battles for Delhi minister Satyendar Jain, who has been arrested by the country's financial crime fighting agency that reports to the centre. Mr Kejriwal has been at the forefront of the fight, accusing the BJP of trying to settle political scores using central agencies and suggesting his deputy Manish Sisodia is the next target.

The AAP also understands that it will need the support of other opposition parties if it plans to branch out of Delhi-Punjab and establish a greater national footprint, sources said.

They said it was these considerations that tipped the balance in favour of Yashwant Sinha, who has been on an uphill campaign trail after being named the presidential candidate of opposition parties, including the Congress.

He was nominated after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah opted out of the race.

He is contesting against Droupadi Murmu, the candidate chosen by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

Ms Murmu is widely seen heading for an easy win in the election, with the support of several parties outside the BJP-led coalition and even a few in the opposition ranks.

If elected, the 64-year-old will be the first tribal woman to become the President of India.

Voting for the Presidential poll will take place on Monday, and the counting of votes will take place three days later.

The president is chosen by the members of the electoral college, which consists of elected members of both houses of parliament and elected members of the legislative assemblies of all states.

With inputs from PTI