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Politics over protocol: VP meets Patil

Bhairon Singh Shekhawat called on Pratibha Patil after Patil said she would visit the VP.

News18test sharma |

Updated:June 17, 2007, 10:14 AM IST
Politics over protocol: VP meets Patil
Bhairon Singh Shekhawat called on Pratibha Patil after Patil said she would visit the VP.

New Delhi: It was a rare occasion when politics ruled over protocol.

Unmindful of protocol, Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, on Saturday called on UPA's Presidential nominee and Rajasthan Governor Pratibha Patil at Jodhpur House in New Delhi after Patil had indicated earlier in the day that she would visit the Vice-President to seek his blessings.

She had even sought an appointment with the Vice-President and earlier in the day, she made it a point to tell reporters that she had asked for an appointment with Shekhawat and was yet to get the time.

Shekhawat, who is going to fight the presidential elections against Patil as an Independent candidate, pulled off a coup of sorts by pre-empting the impending visit by his would-be rival, which many thought could have been a major public relation boost for the UPA candidate.

But the veteran BJP leader sensed the trap well in time and dodged a possible awkward situation of having to bless his rival in the true Shekhawati tradition. Then there was also the risk of appearing cussed in rejecting Patil's plea had he happened to avoid giving her an appointment.

He defused the situation by driving down to Jodhpur House to give Patil a courtesy call. The move, which was against the protocol for a Vice-President, surprised many.

The Vice-President was accompanied by his party colleague and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. The meeting between Patil and Shekhawat lasted just about 20 minutes. The Minister of State in PMO, Prithviraj Chauhan, was also present in the meeting.

Shekhawat did not speak to the waiting reporters after the meeting. He brushed aside the mikes of the waiting electronic media and refused to take any questions. One journalist did ask him whether he had blessed Patil for the election, but Shekhawat had no reply for him.

A Maharashtrian of Rajasthani descent, Patil is married to Devi Singh Shekhawat, who hails from near the Vice-President's village in Rajasthan. Both Patil and Shekhawat share excellent personal relations.

Patil has been trying to build her campaign on women's empowerment. Terming her nomination as a "big step for women", she says UPA's decision reflected how much respect the fair sex gets in the country and would help in empowerment of women.

"My candidature for the top post is a big step for women. This shows that India has a lot of respect for women," she said on Saturday.

Patil is planning to launch her campaign in Tamil Nadu by taking part in ''all women rally'', organised by the DMK to mobilise support for her unanimous election on July 1.

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