Pranab Mukherjee, PA Sangma
Pranab Mukherjee (L) and PA SangmaReuters

Presidential poll began in Parliament House and state capitals simultaneously on Thursday, with former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma pitted against former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee for the top post. 

The polling began at 10 a.m. and will continue till 5 p.m.

Pranab Mukherjee is expected to win the Presidential elections convincingly, with major support pooling in from United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and its allies. Other political parties like the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Janata Dal Secular JD(S), Janata Dal United JD(U), Shiv Sena and the Communist Party of Inida - Marxist CPI(M) have assured their support as well. Pranab resigned as the finance minister in June to contest for the President's post.

PA Sangma quit Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the party he founded with Sharad Pawar, to contest for the President's post. Sangma jumped into the fray with support from Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Akali Dal too are supporting him.

On analyzing the present scenario, Pranab is expected to win the Presidential elections by over 60 percent vote with the help of UPA allies, RJD, SP, BSP, JDS, CPM, FB, JDU and Shiv Sena. Sangma could end with a little more than 30 percent with support from BJP, SAD, JMM, BJD and AIADMK.

Political parties like Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, CPI, RSP, the Telugu Desam Party and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi are likely to abstain from voting.

The President is elected by the members of the Electoral College consisting of elected members of both Houses of Parliament, and elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of all States including National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

However, the nominated members of Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies of the States are not eligible to participate in the election.

The electoral college for the Presidential poll 2012 is 4896. Exactly 776 Members of Parliament and 4120 Members of Legislative Assemblies will take part in the elections.

The result of the 14th Presidential election will be declared on July 22, two days before President Pratibha Patil completes her term as President.