Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Raisina Hills Gets An Deserving Occupant

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

There has been a lot of debate about Pranab Mukherjee’s rise to become the 13th President of India and perhaps the stature of the man has alone led to many of those debates. Some saw this as a tactical move by the Congress ahead of the 2014 elections while others argue that UPA government has made a gamble sacrificing its chief trouble-shooter, manager and above all an authority on Indian politics and constitution. However the country can rejoice the fact that Raisina Hills has got one of its most deserving occupants especially as Mukherjee’s predecessor Smti. Prathiba Patil was seen by many as a historical accident by the Congress party and merely a compromise candidate when its initial choices were rejected by the allies. 

Pranab who many saw as one of the best Prime Ministers India never had would surely bring in dignity and grace to the office. A glimpse of which was seen in the way he managed his election campaign when he stayed away from personal attacks on his opponent Mr. PA Sangma who was all out against Pranab framing charges one after the other. The veteran from Bengal well knew the cards were stacked in his favour and refrained from acting childish like Mr. Sangma who was all along claiming a miracle would make him win. And what a poor tagline had he picked up for the campaign “I am a Christians, I am a tribal, vote for me” He was claiming the support of some Tribal forum in India however the results in North East and his own state Meghalaya should serve as an eye-opener for him as tribals didn't see him as their representative. It seemed like one of those agitations for reservations!

Now came the surprise came in from the BJP who many throught would support Pranab. It didn’t want to risk one of its names against the stature of Pranab and choose the second best deal of supporting Sangma who was blowing the trumpet of Tribal background and Christianity both of which are alien to BJP’s ideologies. So it was merely opposition for the sake of it. The party which has been out of power for 8 years seems to have lost the magnanimity which had earned it the tag of ‘party with a difference’. If the strategy was merely to be anti-Congress and attract AIADMK and BJD the leaders of BJP seems to putting their apples in the wrong basket. 

The greatest surprise perhaps came from none other than the 'icon of insanity' Mamata Banerjee. She not only rejected Pranab’s name but kind of humiliated the Congress by suggesting the name of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the post of President. This was an unprecedented move considering this was Bengal’s first shot at Presidency and Mamata risked going against the sentiments of the people of her state. This is why she is the ‘icon of insanity’. The insanity continued till the very end when Mamata made a U-turn and promised her support for Pranab with ‘pain’ in her heart.  She would shame many leading ladies in Tollywood with her melodrama.

And lastly Madam Sonia Gandhi made the biggest gamble as the Chairperson of the UPA.  She put a key man in the Rashtirpati Bhavan for 2014 and also removed Rahul Gandhi’s greatest roadblock in becoming the Prime Minister in 2014 if Congress makes it through. After all Mukherjee had worked under his grandmother, father and would never have liked to have a third-generation ‘reporting head’ from the same family. It remains to be seen if the mistake proves too costly for the Congress knowing Pranab Mukherjee he might strictly follow the constitution and not take a partisan decision if there is a hung Parliament in 2014. For now Raisina Hills is the address of the most seasoned politician and statesman in the country.


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