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HT poll: country wants non-political personality as President

The people's choice of who should be the 13th President of India is clear: a personality who has excelled in fields other than politics. This, according to the results of an online poll conducted by

delhi Updated: May 03, 2012 16:45 IST

The people's choice of who should be the 13th President of India is clear: a personality who has excelled in fields other than politics.
conducted an online poll with 10 likely contenders for the top post, asking its viewers who should be elected as the 13th President of our country.

Nearly 51% of the respondents felt former president APJ Abdul Kalam should be given a second term, while the next most preferred contender was ex-governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi who polled a little over 14% of the total votes.

Next in terms of vote percentage was chairman emeritus of Infosys NR Narayanamurthy with 9.41% of the votes.

Chief election commissioner SY Qureshi was the next preferred candidate with 4.85% votes, just above BJP leader Jaswant Singh who polled 4.1%.

With four out of the top five contenders being personalities from fields other than politics, it is clear that there is a growing preference for a non-political President.

This non political preference is also seen from political quarters, with UPA ally and NCP chief Sharad Pawar quoted as saying he favoured a person with "not too much" of a political mind. But he was soon to retract saying, "I have not said this. I have spoken about an agreed candidate."

Samajwadi Party leader, Shahid Siddiqui, also toed the same line saying, "political or apolitical, President should be above politics. If there is a consensus on his name, the SP is not averse to it".

But with no political party or alliance having a majority, the next President will have to be a candidate emerging out of a consensus.

While the Congress led UPA is short of the halfway mark by 8% votes, the chances of the BJP-led NDA is slimmer as it has less than one-third votes. The 12 non-UPA, non-NDA parties hold 24% votes of the electoral college.

Among the regional parties, the SP and BSP enjoy premier slots with 1.12 lakh votes between them.

Except for Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad advocating the name of Vice President Hamid Ansari for the top post, political parties are tight-lipped about their candidates and are likely to reveal them only after arriving at a consensus.

Click here to get details of how political parties are positioned in Parliament and State Assemblies.

The process

How the President is elected:
The electoral college (the electors for the Presidential election) comprises the elected members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and state assemblies. Nominated MPs can't vote.

Weightage of MLAs' votes: Votes of the MLAs have different weightage, based on the state's population and the strength of the assembly. An MLA from Andhra Pradesh has 148 votes while one from Punjab will have 116.

Polling procedure: An elector has as many preferences as there are candidates. He/she will accord preferences like 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on.

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First Published: Apr 26, 2012 21:59 IST