Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 1
As many as 144 countries began voting online to elect the next President of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in which India is determined to keep out the Pakistani candidate Muhammad Sanjrani.
The Indications are that India will network to provide a helping hand to the candidate from Portugal who is familiar with the corridors of the Geneva-based IPU.
The election will be completed in a window of 24 hours, beginning at 19.30 pm on Sunday. Each country has three votes in the Presidency collegiums, provided one delegate is a woman. The Indian delegation is led by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and includes Poonamben Maadam (BJP, Lok Sabha) and Swapan Dasgupta (Nominated, Rajya Sabha).
Besides Sanjrani, the other candidates are Duarte Pacheco (Portugal), Akmal Saidov (Uzbekistan) and Salma Ataullahjan (Canada).
Sanjrani is the Chairman of the Pakistan Senate and has headed the international affairs committee. This means that as per protocol, he has interacted with all major figures who have visited Pakistan.
Ataullahjan is a candidate reluctantly put up by the liberal Ottawa government for she belongs to the Conservative camp but has had long innings in public life. Pacheo is well versed with the politics in IPU, Geneva, and has in the past headed the “12 plus geopolitical group” of the IPU.
The proceedings started with the Opening Remarks of the Acting President of the IPU. Apart from the election of President, the Governing Council will also consider administrative matters including financial results of IPU, its budget and a host of other matters.
The session will also be attended by Secretary General, Lok Sabha, Snehlata Shrivastava and Secretary General, Rajya Sabha, Desh Deepak Verma while Ajay Kumar, Joint Secretary, Lok Sabha Secretariat, is the Secretary to the delegation.
Prior to the scheduled virtual session of the Governing Council, a virtual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Geopolitical Group (APG) of IPU, consisting of 36 nations, was organised on Friday by the President of the Senate of Philippines, the current Chair of APG. Swapan Dasgupta and Snehlata Shrivastava had attended the meeting.