Bouquets pour in for Patil, sombre atmosphere at Shekhawat home | india | Hindustan Times
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Bouquets pour in for Patil, sombre atmosphere at Shekhawat home

india Updated: Jul 21, 2007 12:19 IST
Presidential elections

Jubilant supporters of Pratibha Patil, set to become India's 13th president, began their celebrations by beating drums and sending bouquets to her residence in New Delhi. In contrast it was very quiet at the home of her rival, Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, as the counting for the presidential poll was underway.

At 11, South Avenue, Patil's temporary residence and a stone's throw from the sprawling Rashtrapati Bhavan where she will be taking over on July 25, bouquets have already started filling the rooms even before the results are out.

According to Congress sources, senior officials from the Rashtrapati Bhavan will seek appointment with the 'president elect' as soon as the results are out to fix the time for the oath-taking on July 25.

The Special Protection Group (SPG) that gives security cover for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi have taken charge of the area as both the leaders are expected to visit Patil to congratulate her.

"For the Congress leaders, it is the day of sweet revenge. The results will be our answer to all the mud that the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) has thrown on our candidate," said Aniruddhan, a Congress worker.

The election was held on Thursday after a month-long campaign marked by muckraking and accusations of fraud and corruption. While Patil was a nominee of UPA-Left and Bahujan Samaj Party, Shekhawat was backed by the opposition BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

In Rajasthan's Sikar village, from where Patil's husband Devisingh Ransingh Shekhawat hails, celebrations had already begun with youngsters singing and dancing in anticipation of her victory.

In contrast, Shekhawat's official residence at 6, Maulana Azad Road, looked forlorn and sombre. Shekhawat, who was greeted by some party workers from his home state Rajasthan, left for Parliament House, where the counting is taking place, in the morning.