India chooses its first citizen on Thursday

Jul 19, 2012, 09:28 IST | ANI

The country is set to choose its thirteenth President on Thursday, with the United Progressive Alliance's (UPA) nominee Pranab Mukherjee starting as favourite to win the contest against his National Democratic Alliance (NDA)- backed rival P.A. Sangma.

A whopping 4,896 lawmakers- 776 MPs and 4,120 MLAs are eligible to vote in Parliament and state assemblies.

The total vote value is 10.98 lakh and a winning candidate needs to get 5,49,442 vote value if all of them exercise franchise.

The votes will be counted on Sunday and the result is expected to be known by early evening, however the CPI, RSP, TDP and TRS which together have about 36,000 votes are likely to abstain from voting.

The run-up to the Presidential poll saw its twists and turns with key UPA ally Trinamool Congress (TMC) first declaring its opposition to Mukherjee only to take "the painful decision" to back him.

Sangma, a former Lok Sabha Speaker, jumped into the fray playing the tribal card with initial support of the BJD and AIADMK.

The BJP and Akali Dal decided to back Sangma, who quit the NCP, the party he founded with Sharad Pawar, to contest the election.

The UPA projected a united picture on the eve of the poll, as a lunch hosted by Congress president Sonia Gandhi saw the presence of all constituents and supporting parties, including the TMC.

K D Singh and Sukendhu Sekhar Roy- both Rajya Sabha MPs of the Trinamool Congress -- were sent by Banerjee to participate in the luncheon get-together a day after she declared her party''s support to Mukherjee.

The voting will commence in the national capital and capitals of all states and Union Territories at 10 a.m.

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