New Delhi: Seldom has the Presidential polls led to such hard politicking as what has been on display during the confabulations to chose the next occupant of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Post Mamata’s dare, Congress’ strong rebuttal, Mulayam’s double-game and NDA’s indecisiveness, five names have emerged as the contenders who will be part of the final bout.
Strengths: Sonia’s support, Friends across party lines, Political experience.
Weaknesses: Mamata’s all out efforts to prevent his elevation, May not emerge as consensus candidate.
APJ Abdul Kalam
Strengths: Clean image, Extremely popular among masses, Can unite ideologically opposite parties like BJP and Left.
Weaknesses: Non-political, Congress’ staunch opposition.
Strengths: Can become first Dalit woman President, Non-controversial, Enjoys support of Congress’ top brass, Good track record as Lok Sabha Speaker.
Weaknesses: After Pratibha Patil another woman may not get chance this time, Not in the A-list of UPA candidates.
Strengths: Muslim, Most parties will find it difficult to oppose him if he emerges as the only choice, Congress’ support.
Weaknesses: Earned displeasure of Opposition during voting on Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha.
Strengths: Enjoys confidence of Congress, Clean image, Political acumen.
Weaknesses: Left’s opposition, Will lose out to Pranab on Bengali meter.
The UPA as well as the NDA is meeting today to finalise the names of the candidates. With the chances of a consensus appearing bleak, stage is set for a nail biting race to the Raisina Hill.