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Pratibha Patil appeals to elect a woman as India’s President to create history

By Pervez Bari, TwoCircles.net
Bhopal : Mrs. Pratibha Patil, the presidential candidate of Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, (UPA), while braving a series of allegations against her, has appealed to her voters to ensure that India creates history in the July 19 Presidential elections by electing a woman to the highest office.
Mrs. Patil, who was addressing MLAs and MPs other than from ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), in Madhya Pradesh here in a meeting in Bhopal today, reportedly advised her supporters to fulfill their responsibility to uphold the basic principles and secular values as enshrined in the Constitution of India.
"I will be the first woman President of India if you support my candidature", Patil told the meeting. She said though 60-years had already passed since Independence,India was yet to elect a woman as President.
She lamented that as soon as her name was announced to contest for the post of President of India the forces inimical to her candidature have hurled a hordes of charges which are baseless.
Talking to newsmen after the meeting, which lasted about 50 minutes All India Congress Committee, (AICC), working committee member Satyavrat Chaturvedi said Mrs. Patil thanked AICC president Sonia Gandhi, Left parties Bahujan Samaj Party, (BSP), and others for giving chance to a woman to occupy this august office which would go a long way to the empowerment of women in India. 
Patil was assured by participants that she would win with a huge margin, Chaturvedi added.
Besides main Opposition Congress legislators, National Congress Party  MLA Hameed Qazi and Rashtriya Samanata Dal leader Harsh Singh also attended the meeting. Five Congress MLAs did not turn up for the meeting after advance notice due to unavoidable circumstances.
Union ministers Arjun Singh, Suresh Pachouri, Kantilal Bhuria and Prithviraj Chouhan, Congress General Secretaries Digvijay Singh and V Narayanasami also attended the meeting here at a city hotel.
After the meeting here, Mrs. Patil left for Jaipur by a special aircraft. She is also scheduled to visit Raipur this evening before returning to New Delhi.
Meanwhile, firmly ruling out cross-voting by party members in the presidential election, Congress leaders said efforts were on to garner the support of some BJP MLAs in Madhaya Pradesh who have shown an inclination towards UPA-Left candidate Pratibha Patil.
"We are all united. Instead of facing cross-voting by UPA allies, we feel that BJP legislators will support Pratibha Patil," Congress Legislature Party spokesman Sajjan Singh Verma said. He claimed he was in contact with several BJP legislators in Madhya Pradesh.
"There are positive response from BJP MLAs whom I cannot name", Verma remarked. ([email protected])