The Rajputana state, which has not been much heard of particularly on the political scene, has overnight cradled two Presidential candidates.
Pratibha Patil, till recently governor of Rajasthan, has been pitchforked into the coveted Presidential race as the Congress front-runner. This vintage Congresswoman is being projected as a non-political, independent person. She is expected to shed her 72 years' past of hardboiled Congresswoman.
What a cruel joke, Soniaji!
Pratibha's rival is another son of Rajputana. He has been a hardcore Bharatiya Janata Party man. For the sake of entering Rashtrapati Bhavan, this gentleman has disowned his 50-year strong bonds with the BJP.
He has come forward in the garb of an Independent. This is such a clumsy gimmick that is unbecoming of a person aspiring for the exalted office of the President of India. (Something akin to Dr Manmohan Singh 'adopting' Assam ties to secure his Rajya Sabha seat!)
Bhairon Singh Shekhawat's trick is supposed to facilitate politicians like Mulayam Singh Yadav, George Fernandes, Jayalalithaa and others who would, now, feel more comfortable with their assuaged pseudo-secular conscience to support Shekhawat.
The party-wise boring vote numbers have been floating around in the media to be repeated here again.
What will be generally underestimated, rather casually overlooked, will be those crucially vital second preference votes. It is there that the focus of attention ought to be concentrated.
Old political manipulators of the RSS/BJP are working round the clock to spring a surprise. Never underestimate the clever politician in the affable Atal Bihari Vajpayee. And also Chandra Shekhar. Balasaheb Thackeray has gone parochial for Patil. That's another matter.
Add to this the ace politician Mulayam, who is a past master at 'tackling' such problems. After all, it was Mulayam who had spotted dark horse A P J Abdul Kalam from the DRDO stable and propelled him into the President's chair.
Mulayam has very close ties with the Communists. The Communists have been frustrated by Sonia Gandhi's cussedness and refusal to accept their comrade Somnath Chatterjee.
Amar Singh and Prakash Karat have been confabulating behind closed doors. While Amar Singh is extremely persuasive, Karat is ambitious and suave.
The metro-based Commies have lost touch with the inhospitable terrain. Nowadays, they have become used to the capitalist style/standard of living. Comrade Jyoti Basu is a classic example of the transformed Commie-capitalist.
Trust Mulayam to instigate some of the Commies. They may just try and outwit Sonia.
Above all, Shekhawat is an old and experienced politician. He has friends in all parties. Not for nothing has he shed his saffron robes. He can be expected to charm some opponents and may just possibly spring a surprise.
Trojan horse-watching may become an interesting/fascinating pastime during the next fortnight.
Amar Singh wants to make a comeback with the support of his friends. Financial backup from Anil Ambani, Saharashri Subroto Roy, the Birlas, flexible Chaturvedi, and a host of others are all with Amar Singh. If the need arises, Thakur Raja Bhaiyya has assured backup, both with money and muscle power.
Thakurs of all shades and complexions will synergise and chip in with all their might to see senior Thakur Shekhawat securely ensconced in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Mayawati has annihilated the Thakurs in the recent UP election. Rajnath Singh, Amar Singh, Raja Bhaiyya have all been mercilessly cut down to size. This is their golden opportunity to rehabilitate themselves after the drubbing they have got. They all want to teach Mayawati a lesson.
Mayawati supports the Congress. Therefore, they will oppose her nominee. Simple!
Thakuron ki izzat ka sawaal hain. Aan, baan, shaan ka maamla hain! (The prestige and pride of Thakurs are at stake!)
So what if patriotic Indians prayed to have only their favourite, nay beloved Dr Kalam as the President of India for a second term?
Sonia Gandhi did not find him suitable in comparison to Pratibha Patil.
The voice of patriotic Indians just does not matter. They must, therefore, maintain decorum and keep their mouths shut.
President Pratibha Patil zindabad!