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India elects new president today

Publication Date : 19-07-2012


India will elect a new president today in a direct contest between ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) candidate Pranab Mukherjee and Opposition-backed Purno Sangma.

The polling will take place in the national and state capitals in which an electoral college consisting of Members of Parliament and Members of the Legislative Assemblies will vote.

"All the necessary arrangements have been made for free and fair poll and security arrangements in and around Parliament House and particularly the venue of poll have been tightened," returning officer and Rajya Sabha Secretary-General V K Agnihotri said.

Electors will have to furnish either their identity cards or a letter from the poll authority before being allowed to vote, Agnihotri said. The votes will be counted on Sunday, three days before the five-year tenure of President Pratibha Patil ends. The 13th president is expected to enter Rashtrapati Bhavan by July 25.

Besides UPA members--the Congress, Trinamul Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal, DMK and National Conference, Mukherjee has the support of the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Lok Janshakti Party and YSR Congress Party, among others.

The Trinamul, which was undecided on its support for Mukherjee, changed its mind two days before the poll and announced it would vote for the UPA candidate with "a heavy heart" due to a lack of options.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, ahead of the voting today, hosted a lunch for her UPA allies, in which the Trinamul was represented by two MPs.

The YSR Congress announced yesterday that it had decided to support Mukherjee and back UPA candidate Hamid Ansari for the Vice president's post. Those likely to abstain from voting are the CPI, RSP, Telugu Desam Party and Telangana Rashtriya Samithi.


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