The President of India Smt. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil addressing the Nation on the eve of the 59th Republic Day on January 25, 2008. RB PHOTO

The names being floated by the media

It is time we consider whIo can be President of India. The head of the state must be a person of integrity, inspirational, intellectual and visionary.  That should be the normal consideration.

But the reality is different. Except for these inherent qualities as also his capability to guide the nation in times of crisis, the system is once again looking for a pliable person who would kowtow the ruling party. It is not a very unenviable proposition.

The President of India Smt. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil addressing the Nation on the eve of the 59th Republic Day on January 25, 2008. RB PHOTO

The nation is considering names on consideration of religion, unimportance in political terms and certainly someone who would be as dumb as possible. Some of the names that are being considered defy any logic.

The first consideration in the present discussion led by the ruling party is of course the religion of the person. It starts with the premise that if someone is from the majority Hindu community, he has little place in this discussion.

In a democracy birth is not supposed to be an important issue. The debate, however, is being structured in a way that this becomes a must. It starts with the exclusionist view. The purpose is not to provide equal opportunity to the eligible persons but how an eligible could be declared unfit on extraneous consideration.

So howsoever big or suitable names may be there, they are not to be considered. It creates a class of political pariah. An entire community with the largest population unfortunately gets into that syndrome.

The ruling party’s compulsion is well understood. Its base is dwindling. It is sticking to every possible gimmick to boost its prospects even if it is at the cost of the spirit of nationalism and well being of its people. The lessons from UP has not been learnt. There its efforts at fragmenting the society only led to the consolidation of minorities against it. Now once again it is promoting that.

The basic premise for looking for the presidential candidate succumbs to the concept of minority-ism. Even among the minorities only one set of minority is more important. Does it not cut at the root of very concept of secular polity? Does secularism only mean that the nation would have to take care of the minority community who has been at the root of weakening the country by various means – partitioning it to create the ultra-terrorist nation, giving all kinds of support to terrorists, undermining the security of the nation, its economy and hitting its interests by producing more children than the nation can feed.

It is a serious issue. The nation must not succumb to cacophony of engineered campaigns to aimed at “undoing their poverty” by producing various committee reports. If similar committees are appointed for each of the caste or community groups, it would only replicate Sachar Committee report.

Over 55 to 60 per cent people live in abject poverty. They are from all communities and castes. In every caste, community, tribal or social group almost 60 per cent of their people live in abysmal conditions.

The unfortunate part is nobody ever appointed a committee to look at the conditions of individual groups.  If it is done the country would be replete with hundreds of Sachar type reports. All would point to one basic fact that poverty and unemployment is evenly spread. It does not discriminate.

But the powerful community could create a web around it to forcefully propagate the “discrimination” which is not there. The politically savvy community knows the methods of subtle arm twisting and get decisions in its favour.

Poverty remains the easiest stick to win the sympathy of all within the country and outside.  This is the greatest myth. The largest number of smugglers, mafia clan from Azamgarh to Mumbai and Dubai proudly hail from this community. The richest businessmen of Mumbai, Kerala, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, UP, West Bengal and Bihar belong to this community.

The textile exporters of Bhiwandi, Bhagalpur, handicraft exporters of Moradabad, Aligarh and Meerut are from this community. Even some of the largest builders in Andhra, Tamil Nadu and software exporters are from this community.

They are there in key government positions, in ministries, assemblies and where not. They have strategically voted in UP to elect the largest number of 69 MLAs – irrespective of political affiliation, short of their target of 75 in a house of 402.

They are the most organised people to blackmail the nation to increase their shares. It must be countered now.

The national political parties must draw the strategies to choose a presidential nominee keeping this aspect in mind. They also need to bust the policy of appeasement of the ruling clan and tell the nation the reality.

It is necessary not only to elect a capable person as the President but also to correct the political course.

The process should look for a person who is above all this. The nation must look for an astute political personality so that if need be he can question his Prime Minister and his colleagues. The President has to be the standard bearer of the spirit of the Constitution and ethos for which this nation has stood for.

As polity is becoming unstable with weak personalities heading the government and administration, it is time the nation elects a person as President who not only can command respect but also can guide the nation.

The President as the Constitution envisaged is not supposed to be a rubber stamp. The President must have strength to give direction to the government, not just in theory but in reality. It has happened in the past.
It is time of crisis –political, economic, ethical and moral. The situation is aggravating. The institution of President is supposed to steer the nation in such emergencies – to help it select the right path.

So the nation needs a strong, ideologically-oriented benevolent person as the head of the state. Only such a person can keep the nation integrated and lead it to become the leader of the international community. The nation had too many bureaucrats at all levels. No person with such a tag should come to occupy the highest office. The leading national parties need to come together to elect such an astute political person. He should symbolise the change the country is pining for.

Some 40 years back the system was challenged to elect a labour leader, VV Giri,  as the President. The nation needs to emulate that to usher in the qualitative change in the fragmented political process. It is a great opportunity. Will some political organisation do that?

Source: Shivaji Sarkar, Organiser

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