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BJP reconciled to working with Patil

After Pratibha Patil was elected President, BJP said it had no plans of taking forward its campaign against Patil, reports Shekhar Iyer.
Hindustan Times | By Shekhar Iyer, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 22, 2007 03:30 AM IST

Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat did not show any emotion when the news broke that Pratibha Patil had defeated him by a huge margin. As soon as she was officially declared elected as President, Shekhawat called her up to congratulate her. Later he drove to Rashtrapati Bhawan to submit his resignation to President APJ Abdul Kalam.

Shekhawat then gave up his official vehicle and returned from Rashtrapati Bhawan in his personal car. The 84-year-old NDA-backed independent candidate leader issued a statement saying he accepted his defeat with "all humility".

Shekhawat extended his heartfelt gratitude to the MPs and MLAs who voted for him. "I am also grateful to the people of this great country for giving me their boundless love and affection during the whole process," he said. He extended his sincere thanks to the media. In his brief resignation letter, he thanked Kalam for his cooperation and guidance.

The BJP said it had no plans to take forward its campaign against Patil. Most BJP leaders said they were reconciled to working with her as President.

"That's not my thinking," Advani said a day back when asked if the BJP would boycott her.

"We respect the office of the President," said Rajnath Singh. "The President is an institution," said Joshi.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said the Opposition had not fared badly. "Normally in a direct contest the victory margin has ranged between 8 lakh to 9 lakh. This time we lost by a lesser margin." APJ Abdul Kalam had won by a margin of around eight lakh votes.

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