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YOUR PICK: Vote for India's next President

Last updated on: April 25, 2012 12:32 IST

Image: President Pratibha Devisingh Patil
Photographs: Press Information Bureau Rediff News

Who would you like to see as India's next President? Vote and let us know.

On July 24, Pratibha Patil will bid farewell to Rashtrapati Bhavan. Her tenure as India's first woman President evoked lesser attention than it did when her predecessor, A P J Abdul Kalam, occupied the seat.

Many names have been doing the rounds for India's next President. From the inevitable senior citizen politicians to businessmen who have made their mark to yesteryear actress Waheeda Rehman, as we alerted you last week, the mainstream media and social media web sites are abuzz with speculation about who could be India's 13th President.

Check out our list of likely candidates and vote (at the end of the slide show) for who you would want to see as Rashtrapati Bhavan's next tenant.

In case you have someone else in mind, please share her/his name with us HERE

Please click NEXT to see the list...

Does Murthy fit the bill?

Image: N R Narayana Murthy, co-founder, Infosys

NR Narayana Murthy

Who is he:
Co-founder, Infosys, the global software consulting company headquartered in Bangalore.

What may go in his favour:

  • A clean character certificate
  • Is enigmatic, forward-looking
  • Counted as one the youth icons of the nation

What may NOT go in his favour:

  • Lack of political experience
  • Lack of support cutting across party lines

More Info: Murthy, a recepient of the Padma Vibhushan -- the country's second highest civilian honour -- has appeared in the rankings of businessmen and innovators published by India Today, Business Standard, Forbes, BusinessWeek, Time, CNN, Fortune, and the Financial Times. Murthy, now a venture capitalist, has been playing a public role in many capacities, notably as chairman of the Public Health Foundation of India and as adviser to several state and foreign governments

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A K Antony

Image: A K Antony
Photographs: PIB Photo

A K Antony

Who is he: Defence minister in the United Progressive Alliance government

What may go in his favour:

  • A man of integrity
  • Has an incorruptible record
  • Enjoys the support of Congress President Sonia Gandhi
  • He is a good listener

What may NOT go his favour:

  • Lacks the ability to take tough decisions
  • Too mellowed for the job
  • Lacks the energy and exuberance that APJ Abdul Kalam brought with him to Rashtrapati Bhavan

More Info: Antony has been Kerala chief minister four times. In 1977, he became the youngest chief minister of the highly-literate coastal state.

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Pranab Mukherjee

Image: Pranab Mukherjee
Photographs: PIB Photo

Pranab Mukherjee

Who is he: Finance minister in the United Progressive Alliance government

What may go in his favour:

  • Has been the go-to man for the UPA government
  • Enjoys support cutting across party lines
  • An ace negotiator and strategist

What may NOT go in his favour:

  • The government needs him more than Rashtrapati Bhavan

More info: Mukherjee is supposed to have a phenomenal memory which helps him remember people and the nitty gritty of his ministry, and you know why he is a workhorse of government. Though appreciative of reforms, he is also a believer in the role of the state in terms of control and regulation.

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Hamid Ansari

Image: Hamid Ansari

Hamid Ansari

Who is he: Vice President of India

What may go in his favour:

  • A clean reputation
  • Acceptance across party lines

What may NOT go in his favour:

  • To say the least, being the vice president of the country, he never really inspired confidence in the people that he is THE candidate to enter the presidential palace.

More Info: Not many know that Ansari is no stranger to the world of politics. He comes from a prominent political family with socialist leanings. A Padma Shri winner, he was India's envoy to the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Australia. He won the admiration of many with his charm, grace and sophistication when he was the chief of protocol during the Non-Aligned Summit in New Delhi in 1983.

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Jaswant Singh

Image: Jaswant Singh

Jaswant Singh

Who is he: Former defence minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader

What may go in his favour:

  • The more liberal face of the BJP
  • Has an enigmatic personality

What may NOT go in his favour:

  • Doesn't quite enjoy political support across the spectrum
  • His only blemish -- the way he reportedly handled the Kandahar hijacking episode -- may be back to haunt him.

More Info: Jaswant has established a reputation of being his own man. He is also a prolific writer. And that deep baritone voice, with the slightest hint of a tremble completes the persona that he so consciously presents. Jaswant, who had a stint in the army as an officer, has an abiding interest in defence issues and has been a member of the Defence Services Institute; Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies and International Institute of Strategic Studies, London.

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A P J Abdul Kalam

Image: A P J Abdul Kalam
Photographs: National Informatics Centre website

A P J Abdul Kalam

Who is he: Former President of India

What may go in his favour:

  • He was one of the most adored and respected occupants of Rashtrapati Bhavan
  • His stint as president elevated the prestige of the office
  • Ideal choice of the youth

What may NOT go in his favour:

  • With parties choosing to stay non-committal, the lack of political support may derail his journey to Rashtrapati Bhavan

More Info: Dr Kalam is one of the most distinguished scientists of India with the unique honour of receiving honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions. He has been awarded the coveted civilian awards -- Padma Bhushan (1981) and Padma Vibhushan (1990) and the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (1997). He is a recipient of several other awards and Fellow of many professional institutions.

In his literary pursuit four of Dr Kalam's books -- Wings of Fire, India 2020 - A Vision for the New Millennium, My journey and Ignited Minds - Unleashing the power within India have become household names in India and among the Indian nationals abroad.

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Somnath Chatterjee

Image: Somnath Chatterjee
Photographs: Reuters

Somnath Chatterjee

Who is he: Former Lok Sabha speaker and former CPI-M central committee member

What may go in his favour:

  • A clean reputation
  • His stint as Lok Sabha speaker brought to light his ability of being an able administrator

What may NOT go in his favour:

  • Lack of political support
  • Lately, Somnath has been reclusive and has evaded political spotlight

More Info: Chatterjee is a people's man in every sense of the term. His interests range from education and sports to constitutional studies. With strong ideological corresponding, Chatterjee is a modern man who wedded to liberalism.

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Meira Kumar

Image: Meira Kumar
Photographs: PIB

Meira Kumar

Who is she: Lok Sabha Speaker

What may go in her favour:

  • Enjoys support across the spolitical spectrum
  • Is accepted as an able administrator

What may NOT go in his favour:

  • Lacks the enigma of Dr Kalam

More Info: A new chapter began in the history of Indian Parliament when it unanimously elected Kumar as the first woman and Dalit as the Lok Sabha Speaker. Kumar, daughter of former deputy prime minister and prominent Dalit leader Babu Jagjivan Ram and freedom fighter Indrani Devi, hails from Bihar. She is a law graduate and holds a Masters in English literature. She joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1973 and served at embassies in Spain, United Kingdom and Mauritius. 

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Soli Sorabjee

Image: Soli Sorabjee
Photographs: PIB Photo

Soli Sorabjee

Who is he: Eminent jurist

What may go in his favour:

  • A impeccably clean record

What may NOT go in his favour:

  • Lack of political support
  • Not many feel that he has what it takes to enter Rashtrapati Bhavan

More Info: In March 2002, Soli Sorabjee was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for his defence of the freedom of expression and the protection of human rights. He worked on the Citizen's Justice Committee, which represented pro bono the 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims. Some of the other important cases he has appeared for include that of Keshavananda Bharati and S R Bommai. He recently appeared in the case of B P Singhal, where the Supreme Court held that governors could not be dismissed without due cause.

...

Sharad Yadav

Image: Sharad Yadav

Sharad Yadav

Who is he: Janata Dal-United party chief; currently a Member of Parliament representing Madhepura constituency of Bihar.

What may go in his favour:

  • He is a senior statesman
  • Speculation is rife that the BJP and CPI-M may back his candidature

What may NOT go in his favour:

  • Getting the support of Congress and its allies may prove to be a stumbling block

More Info: The veteran socialist leader has come of age in the 15th Lok Sabha. Not only the Opposition parties but even the ruling party leaders look upon him for wisdom and support.

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Parkash Singh Badal

Image: Parkash Singh Badal

Parkash Singh Badal

Who is he: Shiromani Akali Dal patron and chief minister of Punjab

What may go in his favour:

  • His seven-and-a-half decade political career

What may NOT go in his favour:

  • His stature as a state-level politician

More info: Badal entered politics in 1947. The eighty five-year-old leader created two records in one go in the recently-concluded Punjab elections -- becoming the chief minister of Punjab for the fifth time and by being the first in the re-organised state's history to return to power for the second successive tenure, heading the SAD-BJP alliance ministry.

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Mulayam Singh Yadav

Image: Mulayam Singh Yadav

Mulayam Singh Yadav

Who is he:
Samajwadi Party president

What may go in his favour:

  • His party's recent success in the UP assembly polls
  • His tenure as a veteran parliamentarian commanding respect across party lines

What may NOT go in his favour:

  • Lacks the charisma for being the President of over a biliion people
  • Corruption taint against him

More Info: Known for holding staunch views in favour of a seperate statehood for Uttarakhand and controversial views on Ayodhya, the ailing 73-year-old Yadav has been keeping a low profile. With his son installed as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, insiders say, Yadav could be focussing his energy to corner a major posting at the Centre. Could it be the president's post?

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YOUR PICK: Vote for India's 13th president


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