Sunday, June 17, 2012

President Pranab Mukherjee-‘Not the best PM which India never had but the best President that India would have’ !

The trepidation is finished. UPA did not only announced their candidate but decided the 13th President of India. Pranab Mukherjee looks certain to become the President. After more than 4 decades of political career . This would be his last station. Some days ago, when I wrote in one ofmypiece that ‘Why APJ Abdul Kalam should not become the next President’ I received many comments, some on twitter in fact termed me as I am joking and totally un-precise. But the fact of my outlook was why to repeat a President? The UPA coalition lacks the votes to ensure victory, but Mulayam Singh Yadav of the SP and Mayawati of the BSP have both offered to back him. The country is happy that they have ensured their support. This will give Mukherjee victory even if Mamata Banerjee splits from the UPA coalition. Like many political pundits I believe she is wrong not only on Bengali factor but if we see Mr. Mukherjee, he is definitely accepted by everyone. Many term him as Bhisma-Pita-Maa of Indian Politics which is precise.

 Nevertheless the political entwine and turns preceding week were so tortuous that they miserably uncovered the flaws of the UPA and certainly damaged its integrity. Thanks to our dear TV News Channels which throughout telecast live coverage from outside houses of important players in this drama and with live discussions from their studios with political commentators and experts.   Someone thinking that a presidential victory will make the UPA stronger or improved positioned to pursue sturdy policies looks a fruitless optimist.Neither it will bring their credibility that has gone from last week’s drama. Last week’s plotting make it cynical whether the government will last its full term till May 2014. Other parties will perhaps force an early election in 2013. The 'tamasha' which saw last week was understood as an initial plot for that factor. When on Thursday, Mulayam and Mamata joined hands to reject Mukherjee as a presidential candidate, and instead suggested three other candidates.Thier press conference at Mulayam bungalow was seen as a slap on Mrs. Gandhi’s face. But folks, you cannot underestimate a member from the Nehru-Gandhi Pariwar who has led this country from very beginning. This seemed to change all political equations. But the marriage of convenience lasted just one day. As expected Mulayam switched sides and formally backed the Congress candidate, Mukherjee. Well in spite of any reason (CBI cases against Mulayam) as political pundits suggests there is not even a person who can articulate that Pranab is not a good choice for President.

The authentic lesson of the episode(one of the most interesting which I have even seen in my life) was not that Mulayam was one with the Congress, but that he would gully or prop up as he contentedly, without regret. He would love to become Prime Minister, but time is running out for him since he is already 73 years old. If this is not the truth he would have never left the Chief Minister post of UP for his son. His top and maybe only chance will come after the next general election.As many polls have suggested that the air is of Mulayam and he may get even three times more he got in the last general elections. Therefore he may lead the third front. This could well see both the Congress and BJP is losing ground, opening the way for a national coalition government led by regional parties. Which would have not only the partners of UPA and NDA but also parties which are not supporting the two alliances. If the SP can photocopy its assembly avalanche in a general election, it could win 60 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh, making it by far the biggest regional party in Parliament.That would be an outstanding launching pad for Mulayam to bid for prime ministership. And this phenomenon seems true very soon as we can expect general elections early next year. Bear in mind, instantaneously after the March state election in Uttar Pradesh, when the SP won 224 seats against the Congress tally of just 28, there was chat of Mulayam trying to vigor an immediate general election to take advantage-in of the electorate’s anti-Congress disposition in the minds of the populace. A senior political pundit articulated that Mulayam Yadav and Mamata Banerjee had a general interest in an early parliamentary election: both could ride the thrust that had taken them to colossal victories in their respective state elections. If they waited till the general election fell due in 2014, that thrust would be lost, and may by then be replaced by anti-incumbency sentiment, to their grave difficulty. Why not strike while the iron was hot?Why not to have another point when you are advantage-in, in a tie break of a tennis match? Yes folks this is definitely a tie-break situation as it is now or never for Mulayam. Yet, the SP speedily ruled out an immediate general election. Ramgopal Yadav who not only announced support for Pranab also ruled out from early general elections. Its cadres and coffers were both exhausted after a long election campaign in UP, and the party needed time to restructure its energies and cash deposits. Till then, it was willing to support the UPA as and when the cost-deposits ratio looked good. The Congress flatter Mulayam obstinate, and as a gesticulation allowed Dimple Yadav, Mulayam’s daughter-in-law, to win the Kannauj byelection uncontested. The last time she was defeated from Congress candidate only. This temporarily brought the two nearer. But it will not douse Mulayam’s prime ministerial ambitions for long. Every politician's desire to become PM whether is Mulayam or Modi or Mr. Gandhi Or Advani or Nitish etc. Moreover, Mayawati’s BSP has become a marginal partner in the Congress coalition government in Uttarakhand. Yet, the BSP there has just three seats and one minister. This is too slim a basis for a sturdy squashed. The Congress and BSP are rivals in wooing the Dalit and Muslim vote, and so are not natural allies. The Congress will happily do deals with both the SP and BSP, but sees the SP as a better match. What about Mamata’s aspirations? Since 2009, her 20 Lok Sabha seats have been crucial for giving the UPA a hairline majority in the Lok Sabha. This has facilitated the lady to blackmail the government at will. She scotched the Teesta water agreement with Bangladesh, forced the government to back down on foreign direct investment in multibrand retail, forced the government to change the railway minister and railway budget, and stalled land acquisition legislation. This is bizarre Congress should definitely search for her replacement as she has time and tide she has given the message that she has the power to stop anything in spite of only hairline support. The tamasha to remove Dinesh Trivedi was a bizarre instance indeed in Indian polity. Her truculence suggests she is ready to split away. She may think she will gain by distancing herself from the Congress and its corruption-tainted image. She believes that in a fresh election, without Congress support, she will raise her Lok Sabha tally from 20 to 30 or more. By the end of this year, both Mamata and Mulayam may decide the time is ripened to ditch Congress and force a general election. Preceding week, marriage against Congress on the presidential issue, but only for 24 hours. Now Mamta is trying again to gain support for Kalam through Facebook. Let see when would Mamta and Mulayam will unfriend Congress for their desires. Lastly, I believe next time, they may join hands long enough to tumble the government and force an election.

Times change, people change. In current times, the post of President is vital so a man like Pranab Muherjee is the best person. Mr. Mukherjee has been singularly lucky in his long political career. The most famous sentence of Pranab is that ‘ he is the best PM which India never had’ but now we hope that would be replaced by ‘The best President which India had’ !

Prateek Pathak
B.A in Media Studies
University of Allahabad


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