Even as the countdown to the Presidential election approaches, the BJP is finding itself being increasingly isolated by the political turmoil over Gujarat and the dilemma of some allies, which has tilted the balance in favour of the opposition.
The Election Commission is expected to set in motion the process, involving around 770 MPs and over 4000 MLAs from 30 states and union territories, in the last week of May.
In the Presidential election, a MP's vote is valued at 708, while that of MLAs differs from state to state depending on the population.
The ruling NDA's key ally, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which can play a crucial role in the stability of the government and the election of a successor to K R Narayanan, is making things difficult for the ruling coalition by keeping its cards close to its chest.
A look at the Presidential electoral college - Parliament and state assemblies - shows that the value of votes of the Congress and other opposition parties, including the BSP, NCP and AIADMK, is 5,52,163 while the BJP and its allies have 4,88,538.
However, if the BSP, which is working on a tie up with the BJP for government formation in Uttar Pradesh, and the AIADMK and NCP throw in their lot, the ruling coalition can easily win the race with the extra vote value of 91,630 taking its total to 5,80,168.
Chandrababu Naidu's TDP, which is demanding Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's removal, has 55,520 votes from its 179 MLAs and 41 MPs.
If efforts at evolving a consensus candidate fail, then smaller parties could hold the key to who would be the 12th President would be after Narayanan retires on July 24.
Having realised the importance of every vote in the crucial poll, the BJP appears to have deferred a decision on the dissolution of the Gujarat assembly. This has also served to pacify major allies, like the TDP, which were against elections in the communally surcharged atmosphere in the state.
The BJP has 16,905 votes from its 115 party MLAs in Gujarat.
Uttar Pradesh commands the highest value (208) of vote per MLA followed by 176 each in Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand, 175 in Maharashtra and 173 in Bihar.
The Goa assembly was dissolved some time back, but elections are being held on May 30 in time for the newly elected MLAs to participate in the Presidential elections.
Some names of candidates doing the rounds in political circles are Maharashtra Governor P C Alexander, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, former Union minister Karan Singh and former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao.
The chances of 81-year-old Narayanan being in the race for a second term are also not completely ruled out.
India's first President Rajendra Prasad held the unique distinction of serving two terms in the highest office.
A consensus among political parties could emerge if an understanding is reached between the two sides on the vice-presidential candidate, the election for which is scheduled soon after that for the President's post.
While the Congress is ruling in as many as 14 states, the BJP and its allies are expected to derive their strength from Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir, according to reports received from across the country.
With a BSP-BJP tie-up appearing imminent in Uttar Pradesh, it is likely that Mayawati's party would back the NDA in the election.
Reports had it that BSP supremo Kanshi Ram was offered the vice-president's post but he rejected it saying he wanted to continue in active politics.
The discussion on the issue is expected to gain momentum after the Budget session of Parliament by mid-May.
The Congress and other opposition parties would derive their strength from Assam, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and West Bengal.
Though the National Conference is an ally of BJP at the Centre, it may not be eager to support a BJP candidate because of ideological differences and the Gujarat issue.
The Shiv Sena, with 20 MPs and 70 MLAs and the oldest ally of the BJP, has already opposed Abdullah's 'bid' to be the next President saying 'then what is wrong with Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf?'
Kerala is the only state where all the 140 MLAs are in the non-BJP camp. The NDA may get the vote of only one MP from the state, P C Thomas, who has recently floated the Indian Federal Democratic Party.
In Karnataka too, things are difficult for the faction-ridden BJP, which failed to keep its flock together in the recent Rajya Sabha elections when at least six MLAs cast their lot with liquor baron Vijay Mallya enabling him to enter the Upper House.
Also, the JD (U), an ally of the BJP at the national level, has positioned itself as an anti-BJP force in Karnataka.
Narayanan had won in 1997 by garnering a record 94.97 per cent of the votes polled with the backing of the ruling United Front, the Congress and also the BJP.
The most keenly-fought Presidential election was the contest between V V Giri and K Sanjeeva Reddy in 1969, which eventually led to a split in the Congress.
Tell us what you think of this report