New Delhi: Contrary to earlier speculation, the Congress-led UPA appears to be placed in a comfortable position for getting its nominee elected to the President's post, thanks apparently to some sharp remarks from BJP's Sushma Swaraj rejecting a candidate from the ruling party.
A couple of months ago, political circles were agog with permutations and combinations on the President's election suggesting a possible ganging up of non-UPA parties to stall a UPA nominee from getting into Rashtrapati Bhavan.
However, things appear to have changed suddenly with a surprise statement by Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Swaraj, who ruled out a consensus on the Presidential nominee.
As things stand today, in an electoral college of around 11 lakh votes, the UPA is almost certain to get the support of over 6.5 lakh votes, which includes those belonging to non-UPA parties like Left, SP, BSP and JD-U going by their public statements in last few days.
It remains to be seen whether BJP and its allies or a third front of parties comprising non-UPA and non-NDA outfits will still force a contest in case Congress chooses Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as its candidate.
Swaraj took political parties, including many in the BJP, by surprise when she rejected the possibility of backing either Mukherjee or Vice President Hamid Ansari for succeeding Pratibha Patil, whose term ends in July.
Swaraj reasoned out that the party was planning ahead for the 2014 election and so was not keen on playing ball with Congress. The BJP would not support Mukherjee because he is a Congressman and Ansari because he does not have the stature, she said.
This set off a chain of political reaction triggering divisions in the NDA while several other non-UPA parties also shedding their aversion to any Congress nominee.