As UPA looks for support for Pranab and BJP convinces Kalam to contest to make election for President- Pranab vs Kalam, lets look at who would be a better president with the help of this 3-point scale:
#1 Political Spectrum
President is the highest authority of the nation. He is the first person and thus it is very essential that his political background is such that he is perceived to be neutral and thus garners equal respect from all.
Pranab Mukherjee has been a congressman always. A wikileaks cable noted that he has ‘close personal ties to the Congress Party’s kingmaker Sonia Gandhi’. His stature in UPA is well known, as he is second only to PM Manmohan Singh in terms of framing of policies. Also he has on many occasions, endorsed leadership of Rahul Gandhi.Mukherjee even nursed Prime Ministerial ambitions but somehow it did not materialize. This move is now being seen as the golden chance for the party to reward their man handsomely for his service all along. With all due respect to the man for his political acumen and capability, question remains if it is appropriate to nominate him for the post when President is the executive arm of the democracy and constitution has given him powers to maintain the right level of checks and balances between other organs of democracy.
Kalam on the other hand primarily is a scientist and a former-statesman. He was a TDP suggestion, which BJP approved and thus Kalam got his first, and may be the last term of presidency. His resume for most parts lists his achievements as an academician and the lack of political orientation or background works in his favour as India with all its political diversity, perceives him to be a leader for the nation. This reflects in the backers of him name this time, as BJP and TMC, poles apart politically are convinced with his abilities.
#2 Public Image
President represents our country abroad and presents his honorable self at all the important functions within the nation. It’s important for the people to identify with their President just as they identify with all other symbols like flag, emblem and so on.
Kalam always evokes passionate response from the people. He strikes the right chord as the epitome of being Indian, his contribution to the nuclear program, his vision for the nation (yes he does have one-India 2020) and his appearances with leaders of different religions are all the different factors which add to his public image of a statesman of repute.
Pranab is mostly seen as a firefighter for the government and there is a strong view in the public that his loyalties lie with his party. He would be seen as Congress’s man in the constitutional post, which is not good for the esteemed chair. Also he has been active as a minister in the UPA government since 2004 and has been equally controversial with allegations against him that he closed the investigation of irregularities in tatra truck deal in 2005 as defense minister. Also in his tenure as finance minister, UPA had to fight back inflation, petrol price hike and serious dip in the growth rate, which makes him unpopular with the public.
#3 Past Record
To decide who is a better candidate for president, past record is a helpful scale. Unfortunately Pranab Mukherjee has never occupied the post while Kalam has been extremely successful in the position. Kalam not only gave a completely new meaning to the constitutional position with his proactive endeavors (Read More) but has also raised the bar quite high which will take a lot for any other person to match. He was the first president to use his independent powers. One thing, which goes in his favor, is that he knows he has political capabilities and he is not shy of leveraging them for the benefit of the country. He has given statements on every issue of importance and a nation full of youth will do well under his guidance. He may be the right youth icon for the country because who said youth icon have to young themselves?