Panaji, April 28 - Goa's top industry body, scientists and local intelligentsia are pitching hard to put a 'nuke-guru' Anil Kakodkar in the presidential race and are seeking support of all political parties in the state to back his candidature for the top constitutional slot.
A movement anchored by Goa's top industry collective, the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), scientists and the local intelligentsia is beginning to gather momentum here, backing the candidature of Kakodkar, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India (AECI) and former director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for the post of president.
"We are working towards promoting Kakodkar as a consensus apolitical presidential candidate. He is one of the most deserving persons, who has excelled in the field of his expertise," GCCI president Manguirish Pai Raikar told IANS.
Raikar said that a workgroup was already in place lobbying for Kakodkar for the top constitutional slot.
Of Goan origin, Kakodkar is the son of former state Congress president Purshottam Kakodkar. Born in Madhya Pradesh, Kakodkar spent his educative years in Mumbai, before his appointment as a nuclear scientist. A successful administrator, Kakodkar has been honoured with the Padma Shri (1998), the Padma Bhushan (1999) and the Padma Vibhushan (2009).
"We appeal to all political parties to form a consensus to elect Anil Kakodkar as the next president of India. He is a son of a freedom fighter, an able statesman, a world renowned scientist, and above all a wonderful, respectable and apolitical person," Raikar said, adding that eminent people from Goa, including head of Goa's National Institute of Oceanography S.R. Shetye and noted surgeon P.S. Ramani, were among those backing Kakodkar's candidature.
"We are launching a website that will help to canvas for Kakodkar's candidature as president. We are creating a network of people who will personally meet representatives of every political party, seeking their support for Kakodkar," Raikar said.
The election of a successor to outgoing president Pratibha Patil, whose term expires in April, has already started heating up. The run has already thrown up some names, such as Vice-President Hamid Ansari, former President APJ Kalam and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, among others.