Congress President Sonia Gandhi has announced Rajasthan governor Pratibha Patil as UPA-Left nominee for Presidential elections.
''It's a historic moment,'' said Sonia Gandhi and also thanked all the UPA allies.
Earlier in the day, the UPA and Left failed to arrive at a consensus Presidential candidate. The Left parties rejected Shivraj Patil and Karan Singh's names for the top post. They instead asked the Congress to look for new names.
The 71-year-old Congress leader is leading the race to become India's first woman president.
Pratibha Patil has been Governor of Rajasthan for nearly three years. She is not only the first woman governor of the state, but also the only woman Governor in the country.
The former deputy chairperson of Rajya Sabha is also a prominent leader from Maharashtra who once headed the Maharashtra Congress.
Patil has been elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly five times and has been a member of both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.
A lawyer by profession, she also runs training institutes for the poor and the disabled. She has a sporty edge and was a Table Tennis champion in her college days.
Earlier in the day, the Congress got a boost with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi stating that his party will back the Congress candidate for the post of President.
He also met senior Left party leaders including the CPM's Prakash Karat and the CPI's AB Bardhan and D Raja.
Can Patil win?
But can Patil win if there is a contest with Bhairon SIngh Shekhawat and a Third Front candidate?
The Electoral College has nearly eleven lakh votes. The tally of votes of UPA, Left parties and BSP comes to 570,000. This means if there is no cross voting they have a clear majority.
The BJP-led NDA's votes come to 3,54,689. And the votes of Third Front - consisting of AIADMK, SP, TDP, Lok Dal, and the AGP - comes to 1,06,281.
Numerically, Patil would be through but there is also a possibility of Shekhawat manages cross voting.
Things could be complicated further if the Third Front puts up a candidate. In that case the preferential voting system comes into effect.
In other words an MP or an MLA, who forms the Electoral College to elect a President, will have to vote for the candidates in order of his/her preference.
The candidates who get the least number of votes get eliminated. But those who voted for the eliminated candidate would have also voted for someone else as their second preference.
If Shekhawat gets the maximum number of second preference votes along with the votes of the NDA there is a possibility that Shekhawat may pip Pratibha Patil at the post.
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