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Patil, Shekhawat and the 50 others

Other than Patil and Shekhawat, who are backed by two major political groupings, there are many non-serious candidates in the fray for presidential polls, reports Saroj Nagi.

india Updated: Jun 30, 2007 03:07 IST
Saroj Nagi
Saroj Nagi
Hindustan Times

Before the UPA-Left nominee Pratibha Patil filed her nomination papers on June 23, 13 non-serious candidates had already submitted theirs, raising the question whether it is time to tighten the law relating to the presidential elections. Patil's main rival, Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat is the 17th candidate in the list of over 50 nominees who have so far submitted their papers for the polls on July 19, nominations for which close on June 30.

When nominations are scrutinised on July 2, Returning Officer and Lok Sabha Secretary General PDT Achary will take up each set in the sequence in which his office received them. This means that Patil's form will be taken up after the first 13 have been disposed of.

"It can be a painful exercise as the candidates are given an opportunity to raise queries and file objections or arguments relating to their nomination forms before the Returning Officer decides whether they are in order or not," said a Congress member. He recalled how in 2002, late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan held his head in despair while waiting for APJ Abdul Kalam's nomination form to be taken up for scrutiny. This time, it would be the turn of Parliamentary Affairs Minister PR Dasmunsi and BJP's Sushma Swaraj, poll managers for Patil and Shekhawat.

The Presidential and Vice Presidential Elections Act, 1952 calls on a candidate to give a copy of the electoral roll showing he is a voter, deposit Rs 15,000 and provide the signatures of 50 proposers and 50 seconders on his nomination form. Other than Patil and Shekhawat, who are backed by two major political groupings, only one person, Narendra Nath Dubey of Varanasi, has done this so far.

The rest have turned in incomplete forms. Many have not even given a copy of the electoral roll, leading to rejection of their forms. But the remaining forms will have to be taken up for scrutiny on July 2.

"The seriousness of the presidential election must be maintained," said Dasmunsi.

First Published: Jun 30, 2007 02:57 IST