Shiv Sena throws the mercy plea bomb on Pranab

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Bal Thackeray
Mumbai, Jul 23: With Pranab Mukherjee bagging a thumping win in the Presidential election 2012, requests and expectations seem to be pouring in even before the official oath-taking ceremony. The request has come from none other than Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray seeking the President-elect to reject the mercy petition of Afzal Guru, the accused behind the Parliament attack case in Dec 2001.

Shiv Sena had backed Pranab's candidature, even at the cost of snubbing the BJP, who is the major ally of the NDA along with the Shiv Sena. Thackeray mentioned his plea through the party mouthpiece Saamna, where he said, "We have many expectations from you. We urge you to reject Afzal Guru's mercy plea and hang him. Pranab da you should do this on a priority basis and should kick-start your career as President of India. It is an august conduct that we expect from you."

The Parliament attack case in 2001 saw the death of 12 people and was highlighted due to the blatant attack on the political seat of power.

On Sunday, Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan had thanked Shiv Sena for backing Pranab for the highly coveted post of President. He has been quoted as saying, "It is not only the victory of UPA or Congress, but also that of NDA constituent like Shiv Sena which voted for Mukherjee."

The newly elected President will have his hands full with regards to the mercy pleas, with as many as 27 pleas in the pipeline. Of this, one of them involves the convict accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The 27 cases are from the period between 2008 and 2011.

Three of them were earlier rejected while the death sentence to 10 others was commuted to life imprisonment. Fourteen other cases are still pending decision.

Among the other high profile case that is awaiting decision is the death sentence to Balwant Singh Rajoana, accused of assassinating former Punjab CM Beant Singh. The case is especially sensitive since Rajoana is considered a martyr and many political parties are backing him.

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