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Date of Birth 19-12-1934
Nationality Indian
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Pratibha Devisingh Patil (About this sound pronunciation  (born 19 December 1934) is the 12th President of the Republic of India and first woman to hold the office. She was sworn in as President on 25 July 2007, succeeding Abdul Kalam and after defeating her rival Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. She is due to retire from the office in July 2012.Patil is a member of the Indian National Congress (INC) and was nominated for the presidency by the governing United Progressive Alliance and India

Early life

Pratibha Devisingh Patil was the daughter of Narayan Rao.She was born on 19 December 1934 in the village of Nadgaon, in the Jalgaon district of Maharashtra, India. She was educated initially at RR Vidyalaya, Jalgaon and subsequently was awarded a Masters degree in Political Science and Economics by Mooljee Jetha College, Jalgaon, and then a Bachelor of Law degree by Government Law College, Mumbai. Patil then began to practise as a lawyer at the Jagaon District Court, while also taking an interest in social issues such as improving the conditions faced by Indian women.Patil married Devisingh Ransingh Shekhawat on 7 July 1965. The couple have a son and a daughter.

Political career

The BBC has described Patil s political career prior to assuming Presidential office as "long and largely low-key". In 1962, at the age of 27, she was elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for the Jalgaon constituency. Thereafter she won in the Muktainagar (formerly Edlabad) constituency on four consecutive occasions between 1967 and 1985, before becoming a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha between 1985 and 1990. In the 1991 elections for the 10th Lok Sabha, she was elected as a Member of Parliament representing the Amravati constituency and continued in that position until 1996. A period of retirement from politics followedPatil had held various Cabinet portfolios during her period in the Maharashtra Legislative Asembly and she had also held official positions while in both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. In addition, she had been for some years the president of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee and also held office as Director of the National Federation of Urban Co-operative Banks and Credit Societies and as a Member of the Governing Council of the National Co-operative Union of India.On 8 November 2004 she was appointed as the 24th Governor of Rajasthan. She was the first woman to hold that office and, according to the BBC, was "a low-profile" incumbent

Presidential Election 2007
Main article: Indian presidential election, 2007

The selection of a candidate to be elected as President of India is usually arranged by consensus among the various political parties and thus the candidate does not usually face a challenger. On 14 June 2007, United Progressive Alliance (UPA), which was the ruling alliance of political parties in India headed by the Indian National Congress, and the Indian left nominated her as their candidate for the Presidential Election to be held in July that year. She emerged as a compromise candidate after the Left parties would not agree to the nomination of former Home Minister Shivraj Patil. UPA chairwoman Sonia Gandhi proposed her: her loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi family was widely perceived to be a major factor in her nomination.Patil said that her first job as president would be to make the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) started by UPA a success.In Delhi she asserted that she would not be a rubber stamp president.She faced Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate, The Leader of the Opposition, L K Advani, unsuccessfully sought the intervention of Election Commission of India to force Patil to declare her assets, citing allegations of misconduct. Advani said that people contesting elections are required to disclose their assets per the Election Commission rules, which Patil had not done.Shiv Sena, an important NDA ally, declared its support of Patil on the grounds that she would be the first Maharashtrian to hold the office.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) opposed her candidature for president. While it tried to build a strong moral opposition to her nomination, it was advised not to challenge the nomination on legal grounds in order to preserve the dignity of the President of India, adding to the presidential immunity that the President of India enjoys during his/her tenure.[citation needed]


Various controversial issues were raised by her political opponents, such as the highlighting of a comment made by her in 1975 that those suffering from hereditary diseases should be sterilised.It is alleged that Patil had protected her brother, G. N. Patil, who had been named in connection with the Vishram Patil murder case, while another alleged that as a Member of Parliament for Amravati between 1991 and 1996 Patil diverted Rs 36 lakh (Rs 3.6 million) from her MPLADS fund to a trust run by her husband Devisingh Shekhawat. This was in violation of Government rules which barred MPs from providing funds to organisations run by their relatives. The parliamentary affairs minister denied any wrongdoing on Patil s part, and noted that the funds utilized under MPLADS are audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of IndiaShe won the presidential election held on 19 July 2007 defeating her nearest rival Bhairon Singh Shekhawat by over 300,000 votes. She took office as India s first woman president on 25 July 2007 and is scheduled to retire from the office in July 2012

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