Pranab Mukherjee participating in a puja ceremony at his ancestral home in Mirati, near Bolpur, Birbhum in 2009. Back then, Mukherjee was the Union finance minister in the United Progressive Alliance government. HT file photo
UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee will file his nomination for the July 19 presidential poll on Thursday morning, said officials on Wednesday.
Opposition candidate PA Sangma, who is supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the AIADMK and the Biju Janata Dal, will also file his nomination in the afternoon the same day, said the sources.
The filing of nominations would mark the formal start of the race for presidency, in which Mukherjee appears to have a clear edge over Sangma.
United Progressive Alliance (UPA) sources said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh, senior DMK leaders besides other senior cabinet ministers will accompany Mukherjee.
Given UPA partner Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's opposition to Mukherjee's candidature, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who supports the UPA from outside and Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav, who broke ranks with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance to support the UPA nominee, have also been invited in a show of strength in favour of Mukherjee, said the sources.
While the Congress was able to break the new found alliance between Trinamool and the SP, who were opposing its presidential candidate, and win over Mulayam Singh, the party will also use the filing of nomination to show that it has been able to divide the NDA by getting support of its allies JD-U and the Shiv Sena.
The scrutiny of the nominations will be done on July 2, the last date for withdrawal is July 4, the poll will take place July 19 and counting of votes will be on July 22.