» 07/19/2012 09:50 INDIA Vote begins to elect next president of India Polls put Pranab Mukherjee, former Minister of Finance, as the favorite. Against him, PA Sangma, a controversial Christian politician who has won the support of the opposition ultranationalist Hindu denying the pogroms in Orissa. The results will be released on July 22 next.
Mumbai (AsiaNews / Agencies) - This morning, the elections are being held
for the new president of India.
Mukherjee, candidate of the United
Progressive Alliance (UPA, the ruling coalition), is seen as the favorite
to replace Pratibha Patil, the first woman ever elected as president. His
main contender, PA Sangma, a Christian politician supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, the Hindu
ultra-nationalist opposition party). Beginning
at 10 (local time), the voting will end at 17 (local time). The results will
be announced on July 22 next.
President of India is not elected by the people, but an electoral college
composed of members of parliament and several States assemblies. The mandate lasts five years.
Minister of Finance (he resigned after his official candidacy, ed), Pranab
Mukherjee is considered one of the most experienced and capable politicians in
the country. His
political career began in 1969 under the government of Indira Gandhi, for whom
he was Minister of Finance. During
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's first term, he has served as defense minister
(2004-2006) and for Foreign Affairs (2006-2009).
political history of Purno Agitok Sangma, a tribal Catholic, makes his
candidacy for the presidency, "curious". A
member of Congress (the main UPA party) and former president of the Lok Sabha
(Lower House or House of the People), in 1998 he left the party to form the
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). At
the root of the rupture, the decision to elect Sonia Gandhi Congress President.
his election campaign he has effectively "acquitted"
the BJP for the anti-Christian pogroms in Kandhamal, generating a strong debate
among the Indian public - Christian and otherwise - because his candidacy is
supported by the ultra-nationalist Hindu party.
President has no real power in India,
but can play a key role in the case of a constitutional crisis: a scenario that
could take shape with the general elections of 2014. Precisely
for this reason, the Congress is hoping on a victory for Pranab Mukherjee to
regain popularity and recover from a series of corruption scandals, as well as
the problems in the Indian economy.