A first: Patil's aides could be women
Gender for once is likely to turn in favour of the women officers, often perceived to be a marginalised part of the military since their induction in early 1990s.
They are gung-ho that the gender factor might serve as their ticket to the Rashtrapati Bhawan if the new President Pratibha Patil decides to have women officers as her ADCs (Aide-de-Camp), an appointment which has been the domain of debonair young males.
"I think it will be the ultimate honour for any woman to be the President's ADC. The aiguillette, the President's staff badge — it's an opportunity of a lifetime," said a young woman captain who plans to quit next year but would reconsider her decision if such an opportunity comes her way.
The President is authorised for five ADCs in the rank of captain — three from the Army and one each in equivalent rank from the Air Force and the Navy. The Army has no reservations about sending women officers to Raisina Hill, if Patil so desires and they volunteer.
A senior Army officer said, "There are enough women officers who meet the requirements for the job. It will provide them great exposure."
There has been no instance of a woman being appointed an ADC, either to governors or generals. Patil herself had a male personal aide as Rajasthan governor.