WHO WILL BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF INDIA ?Even if the elections for India’s next president are three months away, the race for RashtrapatiBhavan is already gathering steam. Leaders of India’s two main political parties – the rulingCongress party (UPA) and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata party have started drumming upsupport from allies and other smaller parties to get their candidate to replace current PresidentPratibha Devisingh Patil, whose five-year term ends on July 24.Indian president have powerful things to do like the opening of Parliament’s sessions and rubberstamping the appointment of state governors and to lead India’s armed forces. The president canalso review mercy petitions against death sentences. If no party secures a clear majority ingeneral elections, the president can decide which party should try to secure the support of enoughsmaller parties to form a government. For parties, this is largely why who lives in RashtrapatiBhavan, the official residence of Indian presidents, matters.Although presidents play a minor role in decision making, “the process of selecting the presidentalways turns out to be a huge political exercise.” It’s known as ELECTORAL COLLEGE – atedious process by which Indian president get selected. It includes the votes from the electedmembers of both the Houses of Parliament and the elected members of the LegislativeAssemblies of States and the Union Territories of Delhi and Pondicherry.For July’s president race, the names of several eminent personalities are Vice President HamidAnsari, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, NRNarayanamurthy (Infosys fame), tech czar Sam Pitroda and Punjab’s Chief Minister ParkashSingh Badal. The candidate who has attracted most outspoken support so far is former presidentA.P.J. Abdul Kalam (leading the NDTV’s online poll by almost 68% at a time of writing thisarticle ). The names of less likely candidates have also been floating like Finance MinisterPranab Mukherjee and Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan.We feel that the point is not whether the candidate should be a political person or a non-politicalperson. But, he/she should be able to resolve constitutional ailments threatening the country atpresent.The Congress is keeping its card close to its chest, so are the other parties. It could be none ofthese names, but a complete dark horse that Sonia Gandhi had thrown up the last time.So, fingers are crossed once again, let’s wait N watch.