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Updated: May 4, 2012 10:10 IST

Pranab emerges as front runner for President

Special Correspondent
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Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is the front runner for President, as the formal and informal consultations among the constituents of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) on the election, scheduled for July, gained momentum. File photo
The HIndu Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is the front runner for President, as the formal and informal consultations among the constituents of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) on the election, scheduled for July, gained momentum. File photo

Congress acknowledges that he is indeed in the race for President

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is the front runner for President, as formal and informal consultations among the constituents of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) on the election, scheduled for July, have gained momentum.

This became evident on Thursday, when Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi was forced to acknowledge — for the first time in public — that Mr. Mukherjee was indeed in the race, after another spokesperson Renuka Chaudhary went on record earlier in the day that he was too “valued” a leader to the party and the government to be spared for the post of President.

It is not immediately clear what prompted Ms. Chaudhary to jump the gun, especially since the Congress has not contested reports in the media that Mr. Mukherjee is one of the preferences of the party. Vice-President Hamid Ansari has been projected as the other choice.

Earlier in the week, the BJP ruffled the feathers of some allies of the NDA, with Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj ruling out support to either Mr. Mukherjee or Mr. Ansari, saying the former was a Congress leader and the latter did not have “stature.”

The BJP has gone quiet after the faux pas, but the Congress has stepped up consultations. Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, who is here to attend the Chief Ministers' meeting on the National Counter-Terrorism Centre on May 5, met Congress president Sonia Gandhi, amid indications that her party may have no problem with the candidature of either Mr. Ansari or Mr. Mukherjee.

On her meeting with Ms. Gandhi, Ms. Banerjee merely said she would prefer consensus, and it was for the Congress to take a decision on the nominee.

Ms. Banerjee, who also had an hour-long meeting with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayum Singh, said the two parties would take a joint decision. Significantly, Mr. Yadav said earlier that the next President should be “political.”

Ms. Gandhi, who held discussions on the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Parliament House — with Mr. Mukherjee joining them — said in response to a question from journalists that there was no confusion over the candidates. “Be patient, still there is time.”

The Left parties will hold preliminary discussions on Friday, amid indications that they will have no issue with either of the Congress' choices.

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Presidential Election in India is a number-game!The best solution at hand will be to make VP Mr Hamid Ansari as the next President,Mr Pranabh Mukherjee as the PM & retire Mr M M Singh honourably to take up party duties so that the UPA2 can think of UPA3 ,eventually,after 2014! P mukherjee's performance as PM shall be of some good use. This will tantamount to be like killing three birds with one stone !

from:  avtar chauhan
Posted on: May 5, 2012 at 07:29 IST


Abdul Kalam a tamil brought prestige to India.I think Narayan Murthy should be given the chance.South indians are the best in governance.

Lets learn from Singapore and let's look at Singapore.The deputy prime minister and finance minister in Singapore ,Mr Tharman, is a Tamil.The law minister, Mr Sanmugam is a Tamil.Minister of community development, Mr Vivian Balakrishnan is a Tamil. Mr Iswaran , the minister of trade and industry is a tamil and the former President of Singapore, Mr SR Nathan is a Tamil and Mr Jayakumar the former deputy prime minister and law minster is also a tamil. These speaks many things.
As its clealy seen tamils hold most of the key portfolio's in Singapore and are keenly sought after .They are the best in governance.Tamils have proved to be the best brains.The Singapore government understands and recognises this but NEVER in India.

from:  abraham
Posted on: May 5, 2012 at 05:29 IST

When people who elect the president are politicians, how a president can
be apolitical? Pranab Mukherjee deserves and qualified enough to be the
PRESIDENT of INDIA. No individual can have all the plus points. He is
the pride of India as well as Bengal.

from:  Bhanumurthi
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 22:24 IST

The nation needs Pranabji more as a prime minister than the president.
The need of the hour is a politician prime minister.

from:  chandrasekaran.N
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 18:00 IST

Pranab is a failed leader who is a supporter and close to the alleged war criminal SL Rajapakse regime. India is failing again to have incompetent people with respectable positions to tarnish the image of India globally.

from:  Shiva
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 17:29 IST

We have seen in the past that retired Supreme Court judges ,scientist of repute and educationist being rejected for Presidential post.Politicians want some one amongst them to get influenced and serve their hidden cause.

from:  Ravindra Raizada
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 16:21 IST

I dont think so Pranab Mukherjee is a good option for Congress as he is
far intelligent and unpredictable person which could be dangerous for
the Congress and if he becomes president it would indirectly strengthen
UPA.

from:  Priyanka Vyas
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 15:46 IST

Why isn't anyone talking of P A Sangma? Besides being a brilliant parlimentarian, he is also one of the longest serving. I fondly recall the time that he was Lok Sabha Speaker and I used to watch the prceedings on Doordashan only to hear the instant wit and sharp tongue of the man in action. He had a knack for maintaining decorum of the House and is the Speaker during whose time the House functioned for the longest time without any disruption or adjournment. Speakers like Shivraj Patil and Meira Kumar are but pale shadows of Sangma. He is also very affable, down to earth and approachable, but at the same time a fierce guardian of Parliamentary and democratic principles. Oh well, he is probably being ignored because he is a Christian and Christians are nobody's votebank. Shame on the politicians for promoting a senile old goat like Pranab. He can't string a sentence together without making himself look and sound thoroughly confused. Why this celebration of mediocrity, I don't know.

from:  Akshay
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 15:42 IST

The Congress Party seems to be in a dilemma, unable to decide its nominee
between the Vice President and Finance Minister for the top post. It would be unfair to deny Mr Hamid Ansari the coveted position, as much as it would be to miss the opportunity to instal for the first time a "Bengali" at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The so called issue of 'stature' raised by Ms Sushma Swaraj is meaningless,in the context of the "credentials" of the present incumbent,before being made President. Alas, a faithful "Rubber Stamp" is what every ruling Party or Alliance is on the "look out",for installing as President. But, in case a competent, uncontroversial and non-
political technical person, who has changed the face of the Capital is acceptable, Mr E Sreedharan is the answer, as he may find favour with both Congress and BJP well as their allies in general.

from:  KS Raghunathan
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 14:50 IST

Pranab is a not right person for the office of the President.He has no concern for briniging black mony back to India,but very keen to legitimise and legalise them for a hidden reason.Keeping black money amounts holing illegal and those people who indulged in this should be penalised and all their hoardings forefeited to India.But he is very keen to give tham a long long robe.Why? Further he is not conscious of the States and State leaderships is gaining ground in the Country.He is not flexible.He is a Pranab version of Mamta Didi.For Pranab,Ansari is better,as he has not taken any side on any issue,simply aspiring the Presidentship as the Forth Moslem President of India.Manner of election of President demonstrate the degree of maturity Indians attained in self government! All for Vote Bank and All by Vote Bank.

from:  Sundaram
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 14:30 IST

President has to be a Non-Political Person....as a President will Pranab
Uphold law of the Land....or show his Loyality to Congress ?

from:  rajdeep
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 13:59 IST

Pranab is very good leader and suitable person for Presidential post, but he should come out from Congress. President of a country should not be from any political parties.I would rather support Kalam as a best person for Presidential post a big country like India. Congress is also thinking caste biased politics for presidential post also. It is not good for any political party say president should be from minorty like that. People like Lalu prasad and Mulam singh are useless persons in politics and they both of them having CBI cases on them.

from:  saida
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 12:54 IST

Pranab could be a good candidate for the post of President. If Pranab is made President then Congress will have to look for other able leaders who could solve any crisis which the party is facing time and again. At present no one is there.

from:  Sethuraman
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 10:35 IST

This is the fate of our country as our polity became so worst that we are unable to choose a candidate from the 120 crore population to increase the facevalue of our country across the globe. Everything is getting politicised and dirty. I feel shame myself for not influencing our leaders to choose a non political person who are successfull in differnt walks of life as our president. ofcourse unemployment and greed making them to do like this. if political person is only required then Mr. Manmohan Singh is the best candidate among all to maintain stature to that post than anybody.

from:  G S Murty
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 10:06 IST

I am not a big fan of the UPA or Congress. Pranab Mukherjee,one of the best ministers in UPA, is one person who knows to run a country's political and strategic affairs. It would be a disservice to Nation if Mr. Pranab Mukherjee's services are not utilized properly and instead is confined to the post of President of India. But of course if he is seeking political retirement, then this is the best gift the country can give him.

from:  Anand Vijayan
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 09:09 IST

Pranab da is having substantial attributes to qualify himself for the post of president but his allegiance to congress party is indelibly ingrained in him. If only he makes a public commitment that he would be a president,impartial without partisan attitude, his run may be considered.Yet it is doubtful if the leopard will change its spots.

from:  G.Rajaram.
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 08:57 IST

Renuka's comment in public to the effect the Presidential candidate
need not be valuable is sad. This denigrates the office. I am
surprised if this does not cause a big debate. TV debate on such a
topic is undesirable, as it tends to wash dirty linen in public.

That said Pranab seems to be the only suitable PM candidate of
Congress now. Sonia is a born Italian. MMS may not agree to be a PM
next time. Rahul is far from ready. None of the other candidates would
be acceptable to some of their colleagues. So to let Pranab become a
President may be a harakiri for Congress in its pursuit for a possible
next PM. If it loses the next election Pranab may be neither here nor
there. I would even say if Congress chooses Pranab, it may be
conceding they have no chance in the next parliament election.

Congress is at least consulting its allies. Ideally it should consult
the main opposition also and try to arrive at a consensus candidate.

from:  Narayan
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 08:27 IST

i am sorry to say that this is not the right way choosing a person to
such a majestic position...

from:  sarin ps
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 08:19 IST

Somnath Chatterji shall be the appropriate candidate for President due
to reasons such as he had a proven track record as good parliamentarian
and principled politician. Pranab’s presence in the UPA govt is a must
to go along with coalition partners and to pacify critical issues.
Pranab also stands as apt candidate for PM post. Ansari is yet to stay
as VP to prove his handling of situation.

from:  Saleem Ponnambath
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 08:12 IST

It is not difficult to imagine what prompted Renuka to 'jump the gun'.
It is a symptom of a malady which afflicts all political persons. A
few days ago, Sushma Swaraj was similarly struck by it. The root cause
is the 24/7 TV news channels, whose reporters with their cameramen
tagging along throng all places where these political 'heavy
weights'(no pun intended), are seen. The large cluster of mikes with
the eager camera eyes behind them, thrust in their faces make these
politicians heady with a false sense of self importance and they feel
compelled to drop their pearls of wisdom, only to have someone else or
even themselves come out later with claims of injured innocence that
they have been misquoted or misreported, totally ignoring the TV
images and sound bites already in circulation. When will they learn to
simply stall the reporters with a harmless remark? The verbal damage
during the UP elections caused by senior Congress leaders to their own
party is an outstanding example.

from:  N.S.Rajan
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 07:57 IST

Pranab has the capacity to resist rotten eggs but no to Abdul kalam.....

from:  Hariharan.D
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 07:50 IST

Communists in India are always traiters of the people. They know that peoples choice for Non Political and clean hand,but they deliberately support Congress and by thier action they support the corruption against wishes of the people. They miserably failed to carry on the anti corrupt movement and golden opportunities to channel people anger against corruption,and now peoples anger will directed against those who support congress and will see the results in 2014. All sitting MP and MLA pl take note.People of India are no longer tolerate these traiters and they will be eliminated in 2014.

from:  Bagavan
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 07:43 IST

Pranab Mukherjee may be the most suitable candidate and front runner in the race of Presidential post but can the Congress Party lose the trouble shooter like him is a million dollar question. Other leaders in the party are not on par with the political acumen of Pranab Da. So, the party will honour him with other way round.

from:  Rallabhandy Ravindranath
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 07:31 IST

Its a nation shame that two corrupt ladies are deciding the fate of country !! Its a shame that we as a young Indian's just could not do for our country which is going to drain in few years to come.
God Save My Country !!! I can pray and nothing more.

from:  Venkat
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 07:20 IST

Mr. Pranab Mukherjee will be a perfect rubber stamp for the Congress led government. Please do not entertain politicians for the post of Presidents and Vice Presidents.
Its high time these old Guns move away from Politics and lead a Retired life and leave these Futuristic thinking and high profile jobs to Young talented people. By young people I don't mean the good for nothing Rahul Gandhi, but I mean one from a Non Gandhi family.

from:  shejuguru
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 07:00 IST

President should be strictly a non political personality. He should be
eminent, impartial. The congress nominee does not fit into this catagory

from:  ben
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 06:57 IST

Mr. Pranab Mukherjee will be a perfect rubber stamp for the Congress led government. Please do not entertain politicians for the post of Presidents and Vice Presidents.

from:  shejuguru
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 06:55 IST

For maintaining true democracy select a candidate from outside political parties. Best suit will be a retired or active chief justice of india.

from:  Gnanam
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 05:57 IST

Sincerely disgusted. What is going on in my country ? This man cannot even do his Finance job properly and he wants to run for Presidency. Have the cabinet and parliamentary goons gone cuckoo? Under his captaincy India's currency was downgraded. He has not been able to negotiate around the price rise or black money issue. I ask my countrymen - are we fools to be taken for a ride like this ?

from:  Jayakrishnan Rajendran
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 04:44 IST

What a shame! Pranab a Defender of the Constitution and non-partisan
President? Here a quote from Wikipedia: "Controversies, allegations
and accusations. Mukherjee was a Minister in Indira Gandhi's Cabinet
during the infamous Emergency and was held by many to be personally
responsible for some of the excesses. He was summoned before the Shah
Commission but followed Mrs. Gandhi's lead in refusing to resign
before it. A police case was registered against him which was
withdrawn when Mrs. Gandhi returned to power.
S. Gurumurthy and Arun Shourie exposed how Pranab Mukerjee, the then
Finance Minister of India helped Reliance Industries against Bombay
Dyeing through differential taxation by influencing the Income Tax
Department in textile industry.As a result Bombay Dyeing was almost
decimated. . .He has also been accused of threatening banks if they
invest in Gujarat by sending the Income Tax Department sleuths after
them, a state governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party." Does anyone
care?

from:  Madan
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 04:35 IST

You are right in that Sushma spoke in an undignified fashion --
perhaps it was caused because earlier the Left had nominated Ansari
for VP's post because they believed that (if the situation arose)he
would act in the interest of "Socialism and secularism". Indeed at
that time, it was considered a palace coup of sorts. Presently the
ruling family is sponsoring Pranabda for two reasons. One is that his
pliable and will not offer himself as a candidate for the PM's post
when the heir apparent will be anointed. Secondly from the days of
Bangla Congress (when the Left usurped power) Pranabda's actions and
bonhomie with the Left have not endeared him to the Congress
leadership -- he continues to be a suspect. Pranabda knows all this
and perhaps he feels that at his advancing age, Rashtrapathi Bhavan is
the best career move.

from:  Jay Ravi
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 04:12 IST

It is sad to see the dignity of the office of The President of India, the Head of our nation is decided by not on the basis of merit but on the basis of some of the selfish politicians,who are keen more on self interests than on national interest. We have many non-controversial and humble personalities such as Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, T N Shesan, Ratan Tata, Narayan Murthy, Azim Premji and many more such as Sam Pitroda are far better candidates than politicians who are only playing minority cards just to concentrate on vote bank. It is really a shame on elected members of legislative assemblies and Parliament are not sparing the President of India from vote bank card and horse trading.

from:  Bharat
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 04:00 IST

Pranab Mukherjee is well experienced and an intellect, no doubt about
it. But why can't the people of India have someone whom they like? Its
better to change the rules like "The president should not belong to any
political party". Someone from research field or an enterpreneur should
be given preference. Even a small administration job requires a written
test. But for administrating a country, there is nothing.

from:  John
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 03:49 IST

The cause of India's ills is because of Pranap.His voodoo economics has
brought disastor to India.Making ,Pranab as finance minister, was
India's greatest blunder.India is on a downward spiral

from:  abraham
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 02:46 IST

Oh No, Not again. I admire APJ. No doubt in Pranabji's capability like I was having some
year before with Dr. MM Singh. I do not understand the constitutional definition of
electing president. I was thinking its by vote of elected persons not by elected party. I
give vote to person not exactly to party. If there would be blank voting then I guess
irrespective of party politics , good person should have come out. Similarly there
should be blank voting system for electing prime ministor by elected MLAs. In that
case, at least there would be some escape from dictator's or some small group of
dictators and their puppets.

from:  Navneet
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 02:30 IST

Oh No, Not again. I admire APJ. No doubt in Pranabji's capability like I was having some
year before with Dr. MM Singh. I do not understand the constitutional definition of
electing president. I was thinking its by vote of elected persons not by elected party. I
give vote to person not exactly to party. If there would be blank voting then I guess
irrespective of party politics , good person should have come out. Similarly there
should be blank voting system for electing prime ministor by elected MLAs. In that
case, at least there would be some escape from dictator's or some small group of
dictators and their puppets.

from:  Navneet
Posted on: May 4, 2012 at 02:30 IST

Oh yes!!! only Bangaru Laxman had the stature to be a president.
Dilip Singh Judeo anyone ?

from:  Tripati Panda
Posted on: May 3, 2012 at 23:56 IST

I think Mr.Kalam would be the best choice as he is not political influence person and
clean personality. He has vast vision and he is the only president who travelled
through out India and motivated younger generation rather the president who
travelled the world with family.

from:  Pandiyan
Posted on: May 3, 2012 at 23:54 IST

Choice of Pranab ji for Presidentship, though an internal matter of Congress, might send dubious signals inside india and globally (about its intentions in the light of UPA-II performance standards and scams that surfaced). So, there has to be caution and consistency. Presidentship is a serious matter with multi-dimensional ramifications, plusses and minusses. However, apolitical president-to-be could prove to be a better alternative.

from:  vidyaji
Posted on: May 3, 2012 at 23:35 IST

The proposal to make Pranabji as president will be disadvantageous to
the Congress Party and UPA as he has been a very good trouble shooter
and has bailed out the government from many a embarrassments. It would
be desirable if the party promotes him as the Prime Minister and promote
the present Prime Minister, Mr. Manmohan Singhji as the President of
India, as always his expertise,experience and good counsel will be available to the Government.

from:  ashok
Posted on: May 3, 2012 at 23:35 IST

Please No ! We've had enough of Congress Cronies all over the "spectrum". Let's have Dr. Kalam again !!

from:  Joshi
Posted on: May 3, 2012 at 22:47 IST

At last the Communists would back the Congress because they are the
"torch bearers of secularism". Pranap yes for Communists Mamtha would
back a Bengali So the Candidate wins.

from:  Ram
Posted on: May 3, 2012 at 21:58 IST
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