New Delhi, Oct 21 (UNI) Dr Mohan Kaul, Director General, Commonwealth Business Council, has emerged a front-runner in the race for the Commonwealth Secretary-General's post, elections for which are scheduled to be held next month-end at Kampala (Uganda).
Two Indian candidates--Dr Mohan Kaul and Mr Kamalesh Sharma, India's High Commissioner in London--are contesting the elections to the world body, considered second only to the UN General Assembly.
The third candidate--Mr Michael Frendo of Malta--is also in the fray. However, the contest has narrowed down to the two Indian candidates because of the prevalent system of voting and the election procedure.
Elections to the 52-member body are held by a secret ballot in a closed room, attended by only Heads of State/Government. If a Head of Government does not attend, he sends a Minister to represent him.
A non-Ministerial-level Head of delegation cannot participate in the voting.
Dr Kaul, who has been with the Commonwealth Secretariat for 20 years, including 10 years as Director General of the Commonwealth Business Council, has also had a four-year stint with the United Nations before he joined the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Dr Kaul has been addressing communications to the Indian Government since early this year through the Indian High Commissioner in London, Kamalesh Sharma, who ironically, has emerged as Dr Kaul's competitor.
According to Gen (Retd) T K Kaul, Dr Kaul's spokesman, Dr Kaul has received assurances from several African and Carribean nations as he is on the Develpment Advisory Councils of various African nations and enjoys close rapport with several Heads of State.
Even Pakistan has assured Dr Kaul of ''most careful consideration'' to his candidature along with Canada, Australia, Sierra Leone, Trinidad and Tobago.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmoud Kasuri, who recently met Dr Kaul in Islamabad, acknowledged his role as DG of the Commonwealth Business Council in promoting Commonwealth's vision for economic development in member countries, Gen (Retd) Kaul, said.
Dr Kaul, born and brought up in Srinagar, is an eminent scholar and has been the youngest Dean of the IIM Ahmedabad before being selected for the UN and the Commonwealth assignments.
He is visiting India to call on Indian leaders to present his case for New Delhi's support.