New Delhi: Stage was set for a contest between Pranab Mukherjee and P A Sangma with the two candidates on Thursday filing their nomination papers for the July 19 Presidential poll in which the UPA candidate seems headed for a runaway victory.
Both the UPA and opposition parties projected their strengths during the filing of the nomination papers in Parliament House with top leaders from the respective camps accompanying their candidates.
Mukherjee, the UPA candidate, was flanked by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra when he handed over his nomination papers to V K Agnihotri, Rajya Sabha Secretary General and Returning Officer for the Presidential election.
Nobody from NDA allies JD(U) and Shiv Sena as also CPI(M) was present even though they have committed support to Mukherjee.
More than two hours later, Sangma filed his nomination papers, with NDA Working Chairman L K Advani, Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal, BJD President Naveen Patnaik and AIAMDK leader M Thambidurai being present.
Nominations can be filed till June 30 for election to the President whose electoral college comprises Members of Parliament, Legislative Assemblies and Councils.
As per the support committed by parties to the respective candidates, Mukherjee is projected to get around 6.45 lakh votes in the electoral college of 10.98 lakh, way beyond the required 5,49,442 votes. Sangma is expected to get 3.12 lakh votes.
Soon after completing the nomination process, Mukherjee thanked parties like SP, BSP, JD(U), CPI-M, Shiv Sena and Forward Bloc for reposing faith in him and reached out to Trinamool Congress, the only UPA ally which has so far not supported his candidature.