Bal Thackeray
Bal Thackeray, chief of the Shiv Sena Party.Reuters

The political parties which favoured President-elect Pranab Mukherjee in the 13th Presidential election have already begun to impose demands, even before he occupies the residential premises at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, who bucked the BJP's political interest for supporting Pranab, wants him to end the long-standing controversial mercy plea issue, involving Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru.

Thackeray made his request to the newly-elected President through his party-mouth piece 'Saamna', while congratulating Pranab for his victory.

The saffron party chief suggested Pranab to immediately use his Presidential office to reject the mercy petition of the 2001 Parliament attack convict.

Afzal was first sentenced to death in December 2002 by a Delhi court after he was found guilty in conspiring attacks against the country. The Delhi High Court upheld the decision on Afzal's capital punishment while dismissing his plea in October 2003.

In 2005, the Supreme Court also confirmed Afzal's death sentence, two years later the convict moved the apex court.  

Afzal then sought President's mercy to relieve him from death row, after which the President's Office sought the Home Ministry's response on his plea.

Since then, the issue was on hold, as neither AJP Abdul Kalam nor Pratibha Patil was successful in effectively dealing with the case and taking a decision on Afzal's controversial mercy plea.

With Pranab now heading the country's top post, several questions regarding his stance on the mercy petition have risen.

Pranab is the first Bengali to head the President's Office. He will be sworn in on July 25, coinciding with the end of the five-year-term of outgoing President Patil.

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