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Electing the President: Cracking the UPA

Factbox: Here are those in the running for the Presidential polls.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: June 14, 2012 11:07:31 am

Factbox: Here are those in the running for the Presidential polls –

1. Manmohan Singh:
By naming Singh,Mamata and Mulayam have signalled a lack of confidence in him as PM. It is embarrassing for both the PM and his party,and the Congress had not reacted till late in the night.

2. APJ Abdul Kalam:
Cong doesn’t want him,but he is suddenly back in the reckoning. Mulayam supported him in 2002; question is,will he and Mamata vote for him along with the NDA in 2012?

3. Somnath Chatterjee:
In naming him while rejecting Mukherjee,Mamata probably played a Bengali-replaces-Bengali move. But he is unlikely to get support of the Congress,Left,NDA,or even BJD or AIADMK.

4. Pranab Mukherjee:
His hopes of becoming president are virtually over. He can’t hope to be PM either; if

Mamata didn’t want him in Rashtrapati Bhawan,she is unlikely to want him in RCR — if Singh leaves,that is.

5. Hamid Ansari:
Mamata embarrassed the V-P by outing him as Sonia’s ‘second choice’ after Mukherjee. Mulayam has reservations against a ‘bureaucrat’ as president. A second

V-P term is his best hope.

6. PA Sangma:
No support beyond Naveen Patnaik and J Jayalalithaa,but dent in Mukherjee’s candidature opens up his chances. But the former Speaker’s fate depends on what Congress decides.

7. Dark Horse:
Last word hasn’t been spoken,last deal not yet struck. Repeat of manner in which Pratibha Patil was chosen can’t be ruled out. Several possibilities,depending on whom you speak with.

SEVERAL ROUTES TO BHAVAN YET:

THE SP-Trinamool announcement has upset Congress calculations in the presidential election involving an electoral college of 10,98,882 votes.

THE NUMBERS:

■ UPA: Including TMC,it has 42% vote share. Hopes to get support of SP (6% vote share) and BSP (over 4%). Should TMC

move away,this tally dips to 48%,below the half-way mark. SP loss would bring numbers further down. Congress will then look at Left,others.

■ NDA: 28% vote share.

■ Others: 24%,including non-NDA,non-Congress parties

such as the SP,BSP,AIADMK,BJD,Left,TDP,TRS,PDP,JD(S) and INLD. Another 6% vote share held by small formations and Independents.

THE SCENARIOS:

■ Congress could reach some understanding with Mulayam and Mamata,such as meeting their demands for special packages for their states. That would ensure a smooth victory for a UPA candidate.

■ Mulayam and Mamata stick together,in which case they will have to do business with the NDA,a prospect that neither is likely to relish.

■ BJP chooses to stay in the background,letting SP,TMC take the lead. Since the NDA would neither back Manmohan Singh nor Somnath Chatterjee,this will boost Kalam.

THE MATHS:

■ NDA,SP,TMC can together mobilise 38.63% votes. UPA without TMC would have 37.63% votes. If UPA can turn to BSP and Left,NDA can reach out to AIADMK,TDP,BJD and other anti-Congress parties.

■ Left is allergic to Kalam and in case Mamata is parting company with Congress,Left may be keen to chip in to widen the gap between its two adversaries.

BSP,even though unpredictable,may prefer sticking to Congress.

BJP,on the other hand,will have difficulty persuading JD(U) to

give up its opposition to Kalam.

JD(U) wants a seasoned politician for the post.

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