On June 28, 2012, former Finance Minister and ace politician filed his nomination papers for the topmost constitutional post: President. The most ‘widely’ accepted leader in the polity has pulled up his socks and is ready to stride towards the Raisina Hill. But, will it be a cakewalk? Or will he pay a fair share of penalty from his own
What’s perturbing for a particular section of India is that whether Pranabda is being elevated to the highest post on basis of his ‘intellect’ or ‘loyalty’. Most of them do agree with the latter while some sycophants from big media houses rebut or better to say, endorse his candidature and prefer to veil it by saying he’s an ‘intellect’ and deserves this post.
President Pratibha Patil, for sure, was paid a price for being too loyal to a dynastic regime (which unfortunately prevails even in democracy), and thus was elected by defeating BJP’s Bhairon Singh Shekhawat in 2007. Now, it’s Pranabda’s turn.
I doubt his credibility and hold no qualms in opposing his candidature, which is swollen by prejudices and precarious intentions. A little digging in the past reveals that Pranabda is not honest or innocuous and carries forward with him a blemish trite:
- During the fiendish Emergency period, he was summoned by Shah Commission.
- In the late 1990s, Indian Institute of Psychometry (IIP) — of which Pranab Mukherjee, finance minister, is a chairman — manipulated the selection of management/engineering trainees for the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), based in Mumbai.
- The suspicious ‘aide’ provided by him to Reliance Industries against Bombay Dyeing through differential taxation by influencing the Income Tax Department in textile industry.
- In a book written by Journalist Anuj Dhar, he accuses Pranabda of even covering up on last days of Subhash Chandra Bose based on records declassified by the US, British and Indian authorities and several documents that continue to be kept secret over 65 years after the incident.
The gravity of these stains isn’t well fathomed, for it hardly comes into the broad daylight. His ‘illustrious’ career involves ditching his own party and forming Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress, with a vision to give people an alternate for Congress; but in vain. He soon merged his party with Congress in 1989 after burying the hatchet with Rajiv Gandhi.
From then, there’s no looking back. He soon got resurrected in his political career in Narasimha Rao’s government and continued to remain on most important posts for the Congress. He developed a new image of being a trouble-shooter and a consensus builder for the party on umpteen occasions: passing the patent’s amendment bill, getting nuclear bill cleared, etc.
There is another surprise, if you don’t know about aspiring President; until 2004 he was repeatedly re-elected to Rajya Sabha, right from 1969. Only in 2004, he successfully got elected to Jangipur Lok Sabha constituency.
Imagine this irony: A renowned politician, a skilled negotiator, prolific finance minister couldn’t get elected to Lok Sabha till 2004? The once upon a time State Congress President of WB couldn’t manage his party to win even Municipal Corporation Elections and distinguished parties and scholars endorse his candidature for President.
Did Dr. S Radhakrishnan have the same record?
Did the daring Zail Singh have the same record?
Did the ‘working’ President K R Narayanan have the same record?
Did the people’s President Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam have the same record?
These are the questions we need to ask the policy makers and the Congress Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who had the power of selecting the candidates from her party. She has indeed paid Pranabda a royalty; the ultimate one indubitably. Royalty for covering up her apostle’s scam-tainted works, for pacifying and persuading allies and opposition, for giving magnificent speeches in Parliament with statistical and historical panache on price rise, on dwindling economy, on fragile inflation and on every vulnerable issue brought up.
Pranabda is just on his way to become another rubber stamp President; just like the one we have now, whose name lingers in many suspicious activities. Or is he just on his way to become Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, who was a perfect ambassador of mindless President; signing blindly for implementing the Emergency just because he was loyal to Indira Gandhi?
The exact gains of the Congress party will be evident after 2014 LS elections; where the President enjoys the power to ask any party to form a government, in case any party fails to register a simple majority. Given the stubbornness of the Mamata and fickleness of Mulayam, Sonia Gandhi needs more loyalty from Pranabda and the price being paid for this loyalty is the President’s post as a hefty Royalty.
Image Source [http://www.flickr.com/photos/worldeconomicforum/4091621697/sizes/l/in/photostream/]