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  • » 07/19/2012, 00.00

    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. Pranab 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.

    The 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.

    Former 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).

    The 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. In 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.

    The 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.

     

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    See also

    23/07/2012 INDIA
    Cardinal Gracias: Prayers for new Indian president
    The President of the Bishops' Conference of India greets "with pleasure" the election of Pranab Mukherjee, who has impressive political "leadership qualities" and a great "interest" for the good of the country. The prelate calls for renewed cooperation between the government and the Catholic Church, the mission among the poor and the marginalized.

    30/01/2007 INDIA
    Hindu nationalists oppose government’s targeted minority welfare policies
    The governing UPA administration is preparing a minority map of the country so as to best target social spending at the regional level. BJP nationalists are against.

    30/10/2007 INDIA – UNITED STATES
    Washington trying to save nuclear deal with New Delhi
    Secretary Rice speaks to her Indian counterpart to reiterate US intention to go ahead with deal as is. India’s ruling alliance is divided over the issue. United States warns that if the Congress Party fails to get its allies on board, India’s campaign for a seat on the United Nations Security Council will suffer.

    26/06/2012 INDIA
    Raghuvanshi: BJP manipulates Christian candidate for president
    PA Sangma, tribal Catholic of Congress Party, states there is"no evidence" to say that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, Hindu radical party) is responsible for the anti-Christian pogrom in Kandhamal. According to Lenin Raghuvanshi, human rights activist, the BJP is exploiting the politician to get the tribal votes.

    08/08/2005 INDIA
    India government seeking stricter controls on foreign donations
    A new bill plans to strengthen government control over foreign donations to Indian NGOs and associations. Christians fear it is an additional move by Hindu fundamentalists against the Churches.



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