Presidential Politics: The Debates and Dilemmas

Posted on April 29, 2012 in Politics

By Vishakh Unnikrishnan:

Honourable president Ms.Pratibha Patel is renowned as the first female president of India, but rarely has she been an inspiration to anyone willing enough to embark on a similar venture. Sonia Gandhi’s ad lib comments calling Ms. Patel appointment as the president as a ‘historic occasion’ for the country was also itself dealt with criticism. Faced with allegations like getting involved in a murder case, defaulting on a Rs. 17 crore loan, sanctioning of huge loans to relatives from the co-operative bank run by her husband and also being accused of violation of Government rules which barred MPs from providing funds to organisations run by their relatives, she can be regarded as the most controversial president the country has ever seen.

With all this entire kept in mind the UPA and the Samajwadi party have clarified that their motive is to elect an apolitical president for the next presidential elections, and the name that is supposedly getting the maximum leverage is that of the former president APJ Abdul Kalam. Reports have come in from the GoM which emphasized the need for forging a ‘consensus’ on the Presidential election as UPA, NDA and non-NDA Opposition are not in a position to elect a candidate of their choice, as none of the parties have enough seats for a unilateral decision.

There were also reports that NCP leader Sharad Pawar had suggested an ‘apolitical candidate’ for the upcoming presidential election, which he later denied as reported by the economic times. Mr. Pawar although had commented and rejected the appointment of NCP member P A Sangma stating that “With our 16 MPs that would be unrealistic, and we do realistic politics.”

Without any possible consensus between the ruling parties, the possibility that there will be a consensus in the appointment of Dr. Kalam‘s candidature is immense. Electing an apolitical member as the president by the UPA can prove to be a clean-up act especially for the NCP. With the recent threats of a coup it is important that the head of the Indian Armed Forces is under a responsible person. Party spokespersons are already disputing as to whose idea was it to have Kalam as the potential candidate. SP leader, Shahid Siddiqui, reaffirmed that it was his party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav who suggested Kalam’s name for the post. President Pratibha Patil’s tenure comes to an end on July 24, and there is expectation that the process of selecting her successor will start soon. With the vice-president tenure also to end by May, there is a possibility that the move of electing both candidates will involve give-and-take between the two major political alliances.