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1-min read

Sena to reveal crucial Prez card

This even as Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat files nomination papers.

News18test sharma |

Updated:June 25, 2007, 8:45 AM IST
Sena to reveal crucial Prez card
This even as Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat files nomination papers.

New Delhi: The Presidential election 2007 will enter its last lap on Monday when Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat files his nomination as an independent candidate with the backing of the Opposition NDA.

Despite the arithmetic tilted strongly against him, Shekhawat would be looking to mop up support from rival factions, especially the Third Front.

However, if the UPA-Left stand against incumbent A P J Abdul Kalam is anything to go by, 84-year-old Shekhawat is in for a hard time in the race as odds are stacked in favour of the ruling combine's nominee Pratibha Patil.

The problems for NDA do not end there. Even the Shiv Sena - the BJP's oldest ideological ally – does not seem to be in mood to support Shekhawat having swayed by Patil’s Marathi card.

The Sena is expected to decide on backing Pratibha Patil on Monday.

The party had earlier hinted that it would support Patil as she is Maharashtrian. Sena's backing is crucial for Shekhawat to have at least a narrow chance of becoming the first citizen.

Even Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is reluctant on supporting Shekhawat.

The Third Front, that has christened itself United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA), have already ruled out supporting Shekhawat.

Even the last straw of a "conscience vote" – of 1969 Presidential election – has been ruled and members of the UPA-Left combine are already claiming that it will be smooth sailing for Patil.

Even leaders like NCP chief Sharad Pawar have gone on record saying that Pratibha will win by more than two lakh votes, whoever may be her opponent. This despite Pawar being a known friend of Shekhawat.

NDA's suggestions that cross-voting will carry the day for Shekhawat is not being taken seriously in the ruling alliance, which is projecting the theme of women's empowerment to ensure that Patil becomes the first woman President.

While the Third Front has not revealed its cards on the issue, there has been talk that it could think of a nominee whose second preference votes could be transferred to Shekhawat.

The UPA-Left alliance, which is backed by the Mayawati-led BSP, will be telling its electors to exercise only one vote and desist from giving any votes of second preference.

(With agency inputs)

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