Pranab's nomination accepted
The attempt to scuttle Pranab Mukherjee's presidential bid failed yesterday with the returning officer rejecting the objection of his opponent PA Sangma who had raked up the issue of office of profit.
With this, Mukherjee and Sangma, whose nomination papers were found to be in order this morning, will fight it out in a direct contest in the poll scheduled for July 19.
Rajya Sabha secretary general V K Agnihotri, who is the returning officer for the election, accepted the arguments on behalf of Mukherjee that he had resigned the post of chairman of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) on June 20, eight days before he filed his nomination.
Parliamentary affairs minister PK Bansal, who appeared as Mukherjee's representative along with home minister P Chidambaram before the returning officer, told reporters later that Agnihotri accepted the argument that the resignation was forwarded to the president of the institute.
The RO ruled in favour of Mukherjee and accepted his nomination papers, Bansal said.
During scrutiny yesterday, Sangma had filed a petition demanding rejection of Mukherjee's nomination contending that he suffered disqualification because he held an office of profit by remaining as the chairman of the ISI at the time of filing of nominations.
The counting of votes is scheduled for July 22. The electoral college for Indian presidential elections consists of members of Parliament and legislative assemblies in states.
Given the arithmetic, Mukherjee is widely tipped to win the poll with an emphatic margin.