Event ReportsPublished on Apr 27, 2007
The discussion on "Forthcoming Presidential Election" in India saw crucial issues impacting the election of the next Indian President being analysed and debated
Consensus President need of the hour

The Observer Research Foundation organised a brainstorming session on “Forthcoming Presidential Election in India” on Friday, April 27, 2007 at ORF Delhi campus. Dr. Harish Khare, Political Editor, The Hindu opened the discussion with his initial remarks.

The discussion was chaired by Ambassador Abid Hussain. The brainstorming was attended among others Ambassador M. Rasgotra, Prof. S.D. Muni, Pran Chopra, Neerja Chowdhury, K.K. Katyal, Prof. P.V. Indiresan, Prof. Balveer Arora and D.P. Tripathy.

In his opening remarks Harish Khare felt the Uttar Pradesh election has cast its shadow in the electoral process leading to the selection of next President. While there are no declared candidates yet, Mr. Khare said three people had the best chance of becoming the President. Abdul Kalam, current occupant of the office, V.S. Shekhawat, Vice-President, and Somanath Chatterjee, Speaker of Lok Sabha. Talking about the votes that two opposing alliances have, Mr. Khare said the Congress-led UPA alliance had a slight advantage over the BJP-led NDA alliance.

“But if there are three candidates in the fray then it would be difficult to predict which alliance will tip the scales,” he said. “In the absence of a consensual candidate, it may end up in bitter and unhappy note.”

In his intervention, senior journalist Pran Chopra said the forthcoming presidential race would challenge established conventions. He was supported by others, particularly Mr. K.K. Katyal and Saeed Naqvi. Mr. D.P. Tripathy of Nationalist Congress Party felt that political parties need to follow the unwritten norm of electing someone from the South as the President, as the Prime Minister hails from the North. He, however, thought that ultimately the politics of the day will determine who will be the next President. The discussion was closed with succinct summing up by Ambassador Abid Hussain. He said the need of the hour is to search for a consensual candidate.

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