Prez poll expected to go down to the wire

The coming Presidential election appears set to go down to the wire unless the ruling UPA manages to evolve a consensus on the successor to incumbent Pratibha Patil.

New Delhi: With the recent ganging up of
regional parties on common issues, the coming Presidential election appears set to go down to the wire unless the ruling
UPA manages to evolve a consensus on the successor to
incumbent Pratibha Patil.

A `give and take` formula on the Vice Presidential
election that follows the Presidential poll is also not ruled
out if a successful consensus is evolved on the nominee who
will occupy the Rashtrapati Bhavan next.

Both the Congress and the BJP and their respective
alliances do not command a majority in the electoral college
and have to work on getting the support of parties outside
their combinations to get their candidates elected if they are
keen on a contest.

The Congress has 31 per cent of the total votes against
24 per cent of the BJP in an electoral college that is
expected to be 10,98,882. The UPA has a little over 40 per
cent of the total votes against 57 per cent it had in the last
elections. The NDA has less than 30 per cent.

Hence, the role of parties like TMC, SP, AIADMK, BSP and
BJD assume significance in the elections over which
speculation has started on the names. Last time the Left
parties suggested dark horse Pratibha Patil and her sailing
was smooth.

With just a little less than 4 months to go for the
Presidential election, this time, so far, no names have
emerged as a possible candidate. There was speculation earlier
over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s name but Congress
President Sonia Gandhi ruled out that possibility after the UP
Assembly elections.

Another possible name is that of Finance Minister Pranab
Mukherjee but how much will the Congress leadership be ready
to sacrifice his services which are considered indispensable
for running the coalition that is increasingly hopping from
crisis to crisis in UPA 2.

PTI

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