India elects its 16th president in July this year and a few names emerge as strong contendors to the post. Here is the list of people around whom the buzz is strongest.
APJ Abdul Kalam: Dr Kalam is emerging as the most popular person to replace Pratibha Patil as the country’s next President. UPA allies, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress and the AIADMK, met to discuss who they want to support and zeroed in on the former President. Sharad Pawar-led NCP made it clear that they were seeking an apolitical candidate while the BJP said they wanted a person with a clean record.
Hamid Ansari: Apolitical, and with an excellent non-partisan record as Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, he could emerge as a consensus candidate across party lines. Only Congress could have a problem since he is seen as independent. Text: India Today
Pranab Mukherjee: For Mukherjee, 76, Rashtrapati Bhavan is seen as a fitting end to a long and distinguished political journey that began over four decades ago. His name had come up in 2007 but Sonia Gandhi found a flattering excuse to keep him out of Rashtrapati Bhavan: he was praised as too useful to executive governance. Text: India Today
Meira Kumar: Five time Member of Parliament, she was elected unopposed as the first woman Speaker of Lok Sabha on 3 June 2009. Her track record has been excellent as a Congress worker as well as a diplomat. If the UPA II is looking for another woman president, she’ll be the strongest contender for the post.
Karan singh: A man of letters, the 80-year-old Rajya Sabha MP would perhaps make the perfect envoy. However, his royal status is always held against him, as it is seen as being non-representative of the aam admi. Text: India Today
Sam Pitroda: Advisor to PM on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovation, Pitroda’s ties with the Congress go back to the days when the late Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister. Pitroda is seen as the man responsible for India’s technology and telecommunications revolution. His name began to emerge as a strong presidential candidate when he accompanied Rahul Gandhi on political rallies in Uttar Pradesh.
Shivraj Patil: Steadfast in his loyalty to Sonia, the Congress could decide to reward him with a stint in the 340-room Rashtrapati Bhavan. However, he may not be agreeable to Congress allies. Even last time, the Congress had to drop his name as the Left-UPA 1 allies-had raised objections and indicated Ansari as their choice. Text: India Today