As the presidential election draws closer, the twists and turns in the selection of probable candidates have become very exciting. Mamata Banerjee's choice of candidates for the highest office is a slap in the face of the Congress. By rejecting the name of Pranab Mukherjee suggested by Sonia Gandhi, Ms Banerjee has firmly asserted her ever growing role in national politics. The proposal to field Abdul Kalam by Didi and some others may open up the wounds of Ms Gandhi.
To give a wonderful finishing touch, Ms Gandhi must propose Ms Banerjee's name for the highest office!
M. Somasekhar Prasad,
Ms Banerjee and Mulayam Singh pulled a fast one on the Congress by proposing the name of Manmohan Singh as one of the presidential candidates. Although the Congress has rejected the proposal, Dr. Singh will be an ideal choice. If elected, he will fit well into the ‘difficult' role he is expected to play. He can make solemn speeches and maintain the poise and dignity of the high office. He has exhibited these exemplary qualities even as Prime Minister. A true Gandhian, he sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil.
One wonders why political parties should indulge in such high drama to declare the name of their presidential candidate. It looks like the Congress wants to do everything with dramatic effects. The party's intention to field Mr. Mukherjee is obviously meant to pave the way for Rahul Gandhi to take up higher responsibilities, including the post of Prime Minister. Let us hope the incoming President will be apolitical and will do everything to attune the government's activities to high moral standards.
The office of President should be occupied by a person of eminence with impeccable reputation, who will not be beholden to the party to which he/she may belong or which may be instrumental in electing him/her.
Non-political incumbents to the august office have fared better and have been popular with the public. It will be a mockery of the system if a failed politician is kicked upstairs to reward him for his unblemished record of loyalty or get him out of the way. Parties should rise above their narrow considerations and elect a person of proven merit.
No party has the strength to decide a candidate and ensure his or her victory on its own. Regional parties have proposed the names of candidates but national parties are keeping mum. Parties would do well to understand that this is not a by-election to any seat in Parliament or State Assembly. The race is to vote for the first citizen of the nation.