Never has the election of a President been more mired in ugliness as that for now. Our incumbent President Pratibha Patil never did anything to justify her selection to the position of President, rather she made a mockery of it by going about on tourist jaunts and in total,behaving like the very rubber stamp of the Congress, rather than the President of India. This whole position ( which as it is, is pretty ornamental) was reduced to that of a Congress cha-cha.
Now, worry is concerning the new President elect. This Presidential election nomination has been full of ugliness, back stabbing, twists and turns, and indian politics at its ugliest, and definitely a lot of closed door intrigues going on.
The initial ball was set rolling sometime by Amma’s support to PA Sangma as a Presidential candidate, which at that time, was not taken seriously enough.
UPA’s undoubted political asinineness
Starting off by the nomination of UPA’s Presidential candidate. First came the nomination of Pranab Mukherjee. That itself became controversial as there were muted whispers on whether it was a genuine symbol of respect for Pranab M or Sonia gandhi’s forced retirement of someone who would have been a strong PM candidate for the 2014 elections. We still don’t know what is the actual reason. Prior to the nomination of PM as its Presidential candidate, there were conjectures that the present PM, Manmohan Singh would be booted up into Presidential oblivion, as he has done a shoddy job for the most part on the PM front. It required a press conference to deny this rumor. Other possible UPA aspirants were people such a s Meira Kumar, Hamid Ansari etc. What strikes me about the choice of Presidential candidates is the criteria, which undoubtedly seems to be loyalty to the Gandhi pantheon and not about the contribution to the growth of India.The intention seems to be keeping the rubber stamp of the Congress on all important positions so that no interference would be there from anybody on any crucial issues, especially the opposition.
Dissent within: Mamta Sabotaged!
While Natural UPA allies would be expected to toe UPA line, there was a dissension in the form of Mamta Banerjee’s TMC who promoted APJ Kalam as its Presidential nominee. Mamta Banerjee cannot be blamed for this as she has reason to despise the man who was responsible for her exit from the Congress. Undoubtedly, the man who has won the hearts of Indians everywhere, who very truly deserves this post and rank of President and who in no way can be compared to the sort of candidates in the Congress pocket or in anybody else’s for that matter. This dissension rose into outright defiance. UPA refused to accept Kalam probably because they have bitter experiences of how individual and independent and uncongenial to asslicking and sycophantic tastes he is.
Mamta also got the support of BJP_NDA, and was guaranteed the support of SP. However, in a last minute manoevre and stinking tactics, Mulayam washed his hands off the promised support and went along with UPA. This was such a detestable but not exactly unexpected behavior from Mulayam and Congress. Mamta Banerjee, to her credit, stuck to her guns and supported Kalam. However inspite of her and BJP’s requests, Dr Kalam, refrained from participation. Presumably, he was worried about losing reputation. In the nation eyes he won’t have lost reputation actually as if anything UPA would have lost immeasurably in reputation by nominating Pranab ji against him.
Unfortunately in all these dirty politics and horns waggling manipulated by Congress and allies, the Opposition (NDA-BJP alliance) have not presented a clear opposition. They have been confused and undetermined and taken undue amount of time in announcing their candidates, even though the candidates they proposed have high stature. Knowing the importance of the Presidential election, they should have planned their candidates 1, 2, 3 in advance and canvassed support for them from the beginning, rather than waiting for UPA’s announcement. Why, in the world , should an opposition wait for the ruling party’s announcement? An opposition should send out the message they are serious and determined, focussed and committed. This is something they could have done easily, keeping in mind the shoddy state of UPA.
This confused and indecisive mindset is further confirmed by their shift from Kalam to PA Sangma as a candidate for them to represent at the last minute. While Sangma may be a commendable candidate and it is worthy having a Presidential candidate from the North East, the whole way in which this has been managed, is quite unworthy of a National Opposition. Yes it is important for the opposition to not let the ruling party thrust its choice on them and not to be seen as a weak one but somehow early and timely planning could have saved a lot of red faces.
Hope they learn their lessons for the next battle ahead.
PA Sangma : A lone horse in a one sided battle?
The Kalam refusal, changed the dynamics compelling the BJP led NDA to go for other alternatives and PA Sangma who was supported by Jaya Lalitha, has been now nominated from their side. Again, preceded by ugliness where sangma had to quit his party, the NCP as the NCP sided with UPA. Unfortunately, nomination of Sangma has lead to cracks in the NDA alliance with the JD_U led by nitish kumar supporting Pranab. Congress, the grandmother of dirty politics in India, takes this opportunity to make their already filthy hands even more dirtier by encouraging and weaning off Nitish from NDA, and also supporting his anti Modi statements. Another political intrigue on the cards?
The BJP has to truly ask itself, till what point can you compromise for your allies and whether they are prepared to risk their independence for being continuously blackballed by so called allies?
Ultimately, Pranab Mukherjee may win the battle after an ugly battle, which would have tainted all the participants (and looks likely, seeing the amount of dirt being kicked up) but rest assured, his Presidency would go down in history as one of the ugliest ever.