The former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is expected to succeed in India’s presidential race, but results are not expected until Sunday.
The Huffington Post reports:
Thousands of national and state legislators on Thursday were selecting India’s next president, a largely ceremonial role expected to go to the governing Congress Party’s former finance minister.
Pranab Mukherjee has been traveling the country for weeks to shore up support among the 4,896-member electoral college against his main competition, opposition candidate and former Parliament speaker Purno Agitok Sangma. Results are expected Sunday.
The new president will be replacing India’s first female president, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, whose five-year term ends on Tuesday.
On the campaign itself, Sandip Roy commented on First Post:
The presidential election in India has usually been a somewhat staid affair. The campaign was really about the lack of a campaign, at least a public one.
It always came with backroom politicking and strategic phone calls and media gossip.
Pranab Mukherjee launched his campaign in Chennai to a resounding welcome with drum beats. His opponent Purno Sangma danced with his own hill tribe and beat their drums. It’s all very telling. The presidential campaign in India is now about beating your own drum. Vigorously.
The elections coincide with recent press coverage suggesting Rahul Gandhi could be a possible candidate for the parliamentary elections due to take place in 2014.
The Telegraph reports:
The scion of India’s Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has been widely tipped as a future prime minister and is initially expected to take over as defence minister.
Mr Gandhi, 42, who is the son, grandson and great-grandson of Indian leaders, is seen as the Congress party’s hope for the future, especially after recent election set backs.
Gandhi was quoted as saying:
“I will play a more proactive role in the party and the government. The decision has been taken, the timing is up to my two bosses – the Congress president and the prime minister.”
Many are hoping that the change could put an end to ongoing corruption permeating Indian politics.
As Shamik Das reported following the elections in 2009:
In the Indian elections in June this year:
- 150 of the 543 MPs elected were facing criminal charges;
- 17 have been charged with murder;
– 19 have been charged with attempted murder;
– Three MPs face multiple charges of murder;
– One of these, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury – MP for Baharampur, West Bengal – faces three counts of murder, as well as charges of voluntarily causing hurt, wrongful restraint, criminal trespass and criminal intimidation;
– Various other MPs have been charged with slave trading, child prostitution, domestic violence, forgery, rioting, arson, harbouring an offender, extortion, obscene acts and bribery;
Is there a possibility that a new leadership could signal a new dawn for democracy in India?