India is most likely to get its first woman President. While this should have been a matter of jubilation for all, many questions regarding UPA backed Pratibha Patil remain unanswered. merinews speaks to Political Analyst Dr Mahesh Rangarajan.
As India votes for its 13th President today (July 19, 2007), it is time for Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, a man of letters to step down. India has been proud for a long time of being headed by Presidents who had made a mark for themselves in one way or the other. But, with UPA most likely to win this Presidential election, there seems to be a dark shadow looming over Indian Presidency.
Speaking exclusively to merinews, Political Analyst Dr Mahesh Rangarajan, lamented that neither of the candidates is suitable for the post as important as that of a President. “I am not inspired by either of the candidate. Both the candidates are distinguished by party loyalty and long career in provincial politics. They certainly do not measure up to all the earlier presidents in the country. All the other Presidents had either been Cabinet Ministers or men of letter like Radhakrishnan and Zakir Hussain. The onus actually lies with the ruling party”.
While the masses all over the country express serious doubt about the past of Pratibha Patel and the assets she possesses, she is most likely to occupy the coveted chair. Dr Rangarajan says there is no option but to wait and watch on how she carries on with her responsibilities. “We have to give her a chance and see. That’s all we can say now”.
Questions are being raised in all quarters as to what is the motive behind UPA fielding such a candidate Dr Rangarajan says, “Pratibha Patel has been backed by the UPA simply because of the loyalty and acceptability of the various coalition partners. Again the trust of the Nehru Gandhi family has also played a big role for fielding such a candidate”.
Meanwhile, the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA), popularly known as the Third Front and the Shiv Sena has abstained from voting making a clear indication that they prefer to maintain equidistance from UPA and NDA. Dr Rangarajan feels it is a very important move, as they are getting ready for the next Presidential elections.
“The idea is that they are creating a platform. By abstaining from the election they are creating a platform for the future. So this is beginning of the creation of third force… a very very important and much needed move,” he said.
Reacting strongly to outgoing President APJ Abdul Kalam’s statement that he would have contested in the elections if victory were assured Dr Rangarajan said, “That was not expected from a person of great intellect like him. He has made a statement that has become the biggest blot. How can a person of his stature say this? Like how can you say that you will take part in the battle only if success is assured.”
As things stand, Patil is the front runner and given the numbers it can be concluded that the country is going to get its first woman President. She is expected to get more than six lakh votes. Her rival, the NDA-backed independent candidate Bhairon Singh Shekhawat is expected to get something over three lakh votes.