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Presidential election: Uttarakhand lawyer, Mumbai couple, Bihar clerk among nominees

The other presidential hopefuls in the race for Raisina.

india Updated: Jun 28, 2017 10:34 IST
HT Correspondents
Ajay Kumar Gupta  from Uttarakhand
Ajay Kumar Gupta from Uttarakhand(HT Photo)

Lalu Prasad Yadav is a lowly clerk in Bihar, Agni Sriramachandran a farmer in Tamil Nadu, Ajay Kumar Gupta a lawyer in Uttarakhand, Anand Singh Kushwaha a tea seller in Madhya Pradesh and Mohammad Abdul Hamid Patil is an employee of a construction firm in Maharashtra.

Despite their varied backgrounds and divergent locations, the five have one thing in common: they are all presidential hopefuls, having deposited Rs 15,000 each and filed their nominations for election to the country’s president next month.

It is unlikely any of them will make the cut finally. Rules require presidential candidates to furnish letters of endorsement - as proposers and seconders - from 100 elected MLAs and MPs and none of them are likely to get any. In all probability, their nomination papers will be rejected on scrutiny.

Read: How India picks its President, visually explained

But undeterred by their bleak poll prospects, the five are basking in the limelight that such a high-profile poll brings to the nominees. Some even are busy dreaming of a bright future in the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Haridwar-based Gupta is promising to make the position of India’s president more powerful. “The rubber-stamp era will be put to an end,” he says. Patil has taken upon himself a far greater task, guaranteeing to end ‘militancy in Kashmir’ within 24 hours of assuming the presidency. “I will finish militancy in Kashmir which is the biggest internal problem the country is facing. Within 24 hours after assuming office, I will teach Pakistan a lesson and settle the Kashmir problem for good,” he insists.

Though oddballs, such presidential aspirants are not entirely uncommon.

Some 65 candidates have filed their papers this time, including NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind. Opposition candidate Meira Kumar is expected to file her nomination on Wednesday. The electoral authorities have already rejected the nomination of 12 candidates, leaving 53 in the fray so far, including the favourite Kovind.

In the fray is also Hamid Patil’s wife, Saira Bano, making the Mumbai-based husband-wife duo possibly the first couple in the country to eye the presidency together. Like her husband, her objective after victory is lofty: “In the event I am elected, I will seek to recruit more and more women into the armed forces and put them in combat roles. I will see to it that women are in no way inferior to men when it comes to defending the nation,” she said.

What these oddball candidates will achieve is debatable, besides some transient fame. Lalu Yadav is best known in Bihar’s Saran for having contested unsuccessfully against former state chief minister Rabri Devi and union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy. Narendra Dubey Adig, a lawyer in Varanasi, has contested presidential elections four times and has filed nomination papers once again.

Tamil Nadu’s Sriramachandran has built a formidable reputation as a sporting loser, having fought in vain in the past against former chief minister K Karunanidhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

“I get noticed,” insists Sriramachandran, though that may not be enough for the presidential guards to notice him and let him enter the President’s house ever.

(With inputs from Debasish Panigrahi in Mumbai, KV Lakshmana in Chennai, Avinash in Patna, Sudhir Kumar in Varanasi, Shruti Tomar/Mahesh Shivharey in Gwalior and MS Nawaz in Haridwar)