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Don’t demean campaign, Patil tells BJP

Pratibha Patil dismisses allegations of financial irregularities and nepotism against her calling them “motivated”, reports Saroj Nagi.
Hindustan Times | By Saroj Nagi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 05, 2007 01:46 AM IST

The UPA-Left’s presidential nominee Pratibha Patil on Wednesday dismissed allegations of financial irregularities and nepotism against her calling them “motivated”.

But she refrained from giving a point-by-point rebuttal, claiming the charges had already been responded to. Earlier, on July 1 in Chennai, she had called them “false, baseless and malicious”.

Patil issued a brief statement after the nomination withdrawal process ended on Wednesday to reassure those with misgivings about her candidature following the BJP campaign. “In over five decades of public life, I have always endeavoured to be true to my conscience….

If I am elected, I shall discharge my duties and responsibilities consistent with the constitutional scheme and conventions established by my illustrious and distinguished predecessors,’’ she said, while appealing for support.

By seeking votes only in a “spirit of humility”, she hinted she would not indulge in any mudslinging against her rival Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. “Under no circumstance should the campaign, directly or indirectly, demean the dignity of the highest office….

To be a candidate to occupy the highest office of the world’s largest democracy, is a distinct honour,’’ her statement said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister PR Dasmunsi said the UPA, the Left, the BSP and other parties backing Patil will not target Shekhawat and will strive to restore cleanliness to the campaign “demeaned’’ by the BJP and its leader LK Advani.

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