Indian expats divided over President’s choice

ABU DHABI — With the presidential elections in India inching closer —slated on July 19— Khaleej Times spoke to a cross section of the Indian expatriates residing in the capital to elicit their views on who they feel should be elected the First Citizen of the country.

By Anwar Ahmad

Published: Fri 13 Jul 2007, 9:40 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:08 AM

While the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is backing the veteran Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, the ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and Left parties are supporting Pratibha Patil.

The current incumbent, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s tenure expires on July 24.

Most of the women Khaleej Times talked to, supported Pratibha Patil’s candidature saying they wanted to see the country have its first woman president.

Liss Thomas, an administration assistant said: “I support Patil as she is supposed to be the first woman president. Being a woman she can better understand the needs and requirements of women.”

Priscila D’souza, a student, said: “I support Patil’s candidature. She will make history as the first woman president of India.”

Mohammad Akram, a teacher at Al Rayyan Public School in Abu Dhabi, agreed. “If Patil wins, this will open a new chapter in the history of women’s empowerment in India. It will also encourage them to take larger responsibilities to serve the nation.”

However, Venkat Rao, an operations officer at the Emirates Bank International said: “Shekhawat will make a better president as he is a very experienced politician. He has spent over 50 years in public life. But he must serve the nation without coming under the influence of any political party.”

B.R. Shetty, CEO of NMC Group said, “in my opinion, Patil will make a good president. However, personally I would have liked Kalam to get a second term.”

Mohamed Ansher Aboobakker, operations officer at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi said: “The president’s post should ideally go to a consensus candidate without a political lineage. Only then can the president be unbiased towards the political parties.”

Meetu Suhas Kumar, an architect, said, “It’s very important that the president should be a role model for Indians all over the world, and hopefully, less political. Having said this, I believe Shekhawat will make an ideal president because he possesses a basic set of ideologies which are the prerequisite for this post.”

More news from