Who Are Game For Presidential Poll 2012? Who's Whose Favourite?
With President Pratiba Patil's term ending July, all the political parties have been pushing their list of favourites for the top post.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalitha, who appeared to be out of game with no word on her favourite candidate till recently, has surprised everyone by tirelessly promoting her choice, NCP leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma.
Sangma's name for president post was originally proposed by NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Pawar later backed off from pushing his choice for the top post calming the party clearly lacked the number to aim for such a big post.
As a twist in the tale, Sangma received an unconditional support from Jayalalitha and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who feel he is the perfect Presidential candidate.
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Jayalalitha has opposed all presidential candidates of the Congress-led UPA government and has been holding talks with the BJP and Left leaders to garner support for her favourite.
Sangma too has expressed his strong determination to contest for the post. He said that he would contest as an independent candidate if necessary and not disappoint Jayalalitha and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik.
Media reports said that Sangma would approach Congress national leaders like Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to seek their consensus for his candidature.
On the other hand, the Congress has been keeping a low-profile for a while now and has not revealed its choice though several names have been doing the rounds.
Currently, Vice-President Hamid Ansari was the Congress' first choice for the top-post but his candidature was not received well by many opposition parties, mainly the BJP.
Then, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's name came up. Almost all the political parties touted him as a potential leader but opposed his candidature for the President's post, labeling him as a "hard-core Congressman."
West Bengal chief Minister and Trinamool Congress head Mamata Banerjee was also among the others to oppose Pranab Mukherjee's name for the post, despite the fact that he is from West Bengal.
Meanwhile, DMK chief and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has articulated his support to Mukherjee's candidature, which may boost the Congress's campaign in the election.
The Left parties have not thrown their weight behind any candidate so far. They have taken an evasive stand and still waiting for a candidate, who can emerge with a "wider acceptance." The Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders too have announced that they would take a call after the BJP and the Congress make their decision on a presidential candidate.
The BJP has virtually let go its earlier preference, former President and scientist APJ Abdul Kalam, for the top post. They have stopped lobbying for Kalam as they observed a strong reluctance across political parties.
Meanwhile, the media reports suggested that the BJP was contemplating support for Sangma after being approached by Jayalalitha.
With contradicting opinions and constant change of minds in figuring out a potential candidate, the major players are engaged in serious lobbying across political parties to reach consensus for their favourite contestant for the top office.
However, at present Sangma is the only candidate who is slowly emerging as stronger contestant despite a lukewarm response from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
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