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Presidential poll: Clean fight, please

Election process for the thirteenth President of India, is turning into a TV soap opera with a new twist everyday. While the UPA is finding it difficult to get the consent of ally TMC over its potential nominees, the NDA is playing the waiting game. Party position | It's all in the numbers

delhi Updated: Jun 15, 2012 02:48 IST
presidential polls,hindustan times,news

Election process for the thirteenth President of India, is turning into a TV soap opera with a new twist everyday. While the UPA is finding it difficult to get the consent of ally TMC over its potential nominees, the NDA is playing the waiting game.

The political corridors of New Delhi witness new turn of events each day but rest of the country calls for a clean and clear selection of India's next President.

A survey conducted by HT shows 67.34% of people seeking a unanimous name for the President's job. While, 28.14% begged to differ from the majority, 4.52% said can't say.

Finance minister and UPA trouble-shooter Pranab Mukherjee is Congress's preferred choice followed by Vice-President Hamid Ansari. The ruling UPA is still to officially announce their candidate. With former President's APJ Abdul Kalam's name gathering momentum with Trinamool Congress and the NDA supporting him, the fight is likely to be Mukherjee and Kalam.

Kalam however has emerged to be most favoured candidate among the public, with people vehemently supporting Kalam as the net President on social networking site Twitter and in surveys.

A survey conducted by HT on Wednesday showed massive 72.22% votes in favour of Kalam.

On Twitter, Kalam and #President trended through the day, with some users expressing their ire and disgust at the mess vis-a-vis Presidential poll, while some taking a dig at Mamata Banerjee, Congress and the controversy.

A major number of Twitter users sent out tweets calling for APJ Kalam as President.

New Delhi was in a tizzy, after Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday announced with Mulayam Singh Yadav, names of PM Manmohan Singh, ex-President APJ Abdul Kalam, and former Speaker Somnath Chatterjee as SP and TMC choice. The Congress was taken aback as just an hour earlier, Mamata Banerjee had announced to the media that Pranab Mukherjee and Hamid Ansari were Congress choice as Presidential poll nominees.

War of words ensued between the allies from then on. Senior Congress leader Ambika Soni on Thursday said that Mamata Banerjee's move of naming PM Manmohan Singh as presidential candidate is unethical and undignified. She said Mamata has showed lack of courtsey in disclosing presidential candidates name.

Earlier, Congress ruled ruled out sparing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the Presidential race as it rejected the three names proposed by the two allies, sending signals that it was not in a mood to bow before them.

"We cannot afford to spare Dr Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister. The other two names (APJ Abdul Kalam and Somnath Chatterjee) are not acceptable," Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters.

CPI(M) too termed as 'unprecedented' the proposal mooted by key UPA allies Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mamata Banerjee to make Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a candidate for the Presidential poll, saying it showed lack of principles in the ruling coalition.

Trinamool Congress stuck to its guns reiterating that Kalam is their Number 1 choice and that if Congress names finance minister Pranab Mukherjee or Vice President Hamid Ansari as its Presidential candidate, it will "contest" the election with Kalam as its nominee.

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav remained silent on the presidential candidate.

Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies are lobbying for Kalam. In the process senior leader LK Advani held talks with AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu chief minsiter J Jalayalithaa on Thursday in Chennai.

Coming down heavily on the UPA on its handling of the Presidential election issue, Advani on Thursday said "I have never seen any earlier government handling an important election like the Presidential election so clumsily in such a manner that its position gets worse day-by-day."

Endorsing Advani's views, Jayalalithaa, said events of Wednesday showed that the issue had been "botched up" by the Congress.

So the equation that stands for now is as follows:

Pranab Mukherjee has support of Congress, it's allies NC, NCP, DMK and RLD with barring Trinamool Congress and SP. BSP is mum on the issue.

Kalam has BJP supporting it and trying to get the support of its allies JD(U), BJD, JMM, Shiv Sena, TRS, AGP, AJSU. SAD has vowed support to BJP candidate.

CPI(M) has gone on records saying wouldn't back any UPA nominee.

Now, all eyes are on the UPA meet being held on Friday for final names to emerge as front runners for President's post.

First Published: Jun 14, 2012 23:19 IST