We as Indians revere our democracy, secularism and the highest office of President, which are a gift of our constitution to us, but look what our politicians, have done to the presidential race! If Congress’s motive to reward Pranab for being a loyalist by giving him President’s post was not enough, today, Mamata (Trinamool Congress) and Mulayam Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party) put the country in an awkward situation by naming PM Manmohan Singh, Former Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and Former President APJ Abdul Kalam as their choices for the high post. All three are men of caliber and have ‘impressive credentials’ (a la Sushma Swaraj) to run for the top job but what is sad is the reason why Mamata and Mulayam have chosen these three names.
To begin with Somnath Chatterjee, a respected leader of the left, in his capacity as Lok Sabha speaker in 2008 vociferously supported the nuke deal with United States when left withdrew support from Congress and SP came in the ring to save government of the day. This wedge between Somnath and left is enough for Mamata to exploit as left’s weak point. While there were reports in March that left may support 82-year-old Chatterjee for the post, truth is left has given a clear no to Chatterjee’s nomination as president. Thus Mamata has been successful in her first aim of irritating left by suggesting Chatterjee.
Further, Mamata and Mulayam have endorsed APJ Abdul Kalam’s candidature and Mulayam where Mulayam clearly wants to keep his vote bank (minority) amused as Kamal Farooqi, SP cleared on one occasion that his party preferred a Muslim for the post. This Muslim could have been Vice President Ansari too but as it turns out it indeed is Kalam.
The most serious shame, which Mulayam and Mamata have put, the nation into is vouching for the name of PM Manmohan Singh as President. There has been a criticism of this move from every quarter as the move is seen as an attempt to ‘demote’ Manmohan Singh by giving him a post, which requires less of him. Not only this takes away respect from the economist in a quite rude fashion but also it brings in spotlight the question that is President just a ceremonial post where parties can extend their politics too and nation is devoid of a leader of repute to represent it in high forums abroad?