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Pranab, Sangma to file nominations tomorrow

Pranab Mukherjee and PA Sangma will file their nominations today setting off the Presidential race between UPA and the BJP-backed opposition candidate in which the ruling alliance is set for a runaway victory.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2012 16:54 IST

Pranab Mukherjee and PA Sangma will file their nominations on Thursday setting off the Presidential race between UPA and the BJP-backed opposition candidate in which the ruling alliance is set for a runaway victory.

Unfazed by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's revolt, UPA will utilise the occasion of filing of nomination of Mukherjee to project a united picture and its penetration into NDA.

Mukherjee will file papers at 1100 hrs in the presence of the top brass of UPA including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and alliance chairperson and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

Barring Trinamool Congress, leaders of all UPA constituents are expected to be present on the occasion including Sharad Pawar (NCP), TR Baalu (DMK), Farooq Abdullah (NC) and E Ahmed (IUML), in a move to project a united face of the ruling alliance.

NDA allies JD(U) and Shiv Sena have decided to support Mukherjee.

Mukherjee is expected to file four sets of nomination papers and NDA Convenor and JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav is the first signatory to one such set which also has the signature of defence minister AK Antony.

77-year-old Mukherjee is poised to become the next President amidst indications of an overwhelmingly favourable arithmetic and the election managers of UPA are working overtime to secure record votes for him.

The timing of filing of nomination by 64-year-old has not yet been given out by his office. He is likely to be accompanied by senior BJP leaders, Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy and senior MPs from AIADMK, BJD and SAD, among others.

Sangma, a tribal Christian leader from Meghalaya, who recently quit NCP to enter the Presidential fray, had yesterday met Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata to seek TMC support.

However, TMC was non-committal on the issue and there are indications that it may abstain. JMM has already decided to back Sangma.

Meanwhile, Mukherjee today met NDA convener Sharad Yadav to thank him for JD-U's support to his candidature.

UPA sources said efforts are on to ensure that SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had helped the alliance by parting ways with TMC on the Presidential poll issue, is present at the time of filing of papers.

Though Congress leaders have also requested the JD-U chief to be present on the occasion, sources close to Yadav said that he will not be there.

UPA election managers said that as per the latest assessment, Mukherjee could be securing a minumum of seven lakh vote value out of the total 10.98 lakh. They said efforts were being made to see that Mukherjee is elected with a record margin.

A 12-member Coordination Committee constituted by Congress to finalise the campaign programme and strategy of the UPA's Presidential candidate had its meeting here yesterday, which decided that Mukherjee will visit the maximum number of states particularly those with higher number of votes in the Presidential electoral college.

Mukherjee will launch his campaign from Chennai on June 30. Smaller states from the north east will be clubbed together during the campaign with one set of leaders visiting those places.

Union ministers will be visiting the states from where they hail to garner support. During his tour, Mukherjee will be accompanied by AICC general secretaries in-charge of the state concerned.