As no party or alliance has the strength to elect its preferred candidate in the upcoming presidential poll, efforts will begin to find a person acceptable to like-minded parties.
While leaders of different parties are mum, Congress managers see a possibility of vice president Hamid Ansari elevating to the top as a consensus candidate. Ansari's candidature as the VP was backed by various parties after CPM’s Prakash Karat reportedly proposed his name to Congress president Sonia Gandhi in 2007.
Though finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and defence minister AK Antony are also seen as possible Congress candidates, Ansari, a former diplomat and vice-chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University may be supported by parties across the political spectrum, feels a section in the Congress.
His family roots in UP’s Ghazipur may also help him earn the support of Mulayam Singh Yadav's SP. Chief ministers such as Nitish Kumar (Bihar) and Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal) may also back him.
A candidate must get more than 50 % of the total votes to become the President of India. Currently, the UPA has 30% of the total presidential votes. While the NDA enjoys 28% of the votes, the non-UPA, non-NDA parties form the crucial block with 24% votes.
Although Trinamool Congress leaders officially maintain that their Banerjee has so far not indicated any name, the buzz is that she may propose the name of former West Bengal governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi. Gopal Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, also enjoys good rapport with Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and Bihar CM — the two leaders who have joined hands with Banerjee to oppose some of the UPA government's policies.