Harish Jharia

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15 June 2012

President of India Election 2012: Who will be the next Indian President… Abdul Kalam or Pranab Mukherjee?

© Harish Jharia

The President of India is the first citizen of the country. This position also has the distinctive power of being the supreme commander of the Indian armed forces. Nevertheless, the president is the head of the state of the republic of India rather than the head of the government. As such, the president does not have active and effective role to play in the governance.

          A.P.J. Abdul Kalam - 2002 to 2007

Article 52 of the constitution states: “There shall be a President of India. The executive powers of the Union shall be vested in the President. He, as the head of a state, symbolizes the nation. In some democratic systems, the head of the state is also the head of the government and, therefore, he will also be the head of the political executive. The US Presidency represents this form. In Britain, the monarch is the symbolic head, representing the British nation. The powers of the Government are vested in the political office of the Prime Minister. In Indian Parliamentary democracy we have adopted the latter form (British form). The President of India is the first citizen and represents the Indian nation and does not, therefore, belong to any particular political party. He is elected by the representatives of the people through an Electoral College.”

Article 54 of the constitution says: "The President shall be elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of the elected members of both Houses of Parliament and The elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States (including National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Pondicherry."

                    Pranab Mukherjee

Keeping in mind the highly decorative chair of the President of India that has been equated with the British Monarch; the twelve Indian Presidents were elected unanimously, with consensus between the ruling and the opposition parties, in the independent India. The list of the Presidents of India from the latest to the earliest is as follows:
  1. Pratibha Patil – 2007 to date
  2. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam - 2002 to 2007
  3. K. R. Narayanan - 1997 to 2002
  4. Shankar Dayal Sharma - 1992 to 1997
  5. R Venkataraman - 1987 to 1992
  6. Giani Zail Singh - 1982 to 1987
  7. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy - 1977 to 1982
  8. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed - 1974 to 1977
  9. Varahagiri Venkata Giri - 1969 to 1974
  10. Zakir Husain - 1967 to 1969
  11. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan 1962 to 1967
  12. Rajendra Prasad - 1950 to 1962
Now, since the current President Mrs Pratibha Patil is going to retire in July 2012 an election for the highest Indian government position is going to be held shortly. The 2012 President’s election is quite different from those held in the past because of the ongoing number-game being played by the ruling alliance and amassing majority votes for appointing a person of their choice. The street politics played by the Indian politicians in this election has lowered the prestige of the royal position of the President.

The following are the unconventional developments observed among the Indian politicians for the election of the next President of India:
  1. On 14 June 2012 the chairperson of the ruling alliance UPA declared the names of Pranab Mukherjee (Finance Minister) and Hamid Ansari (Vice President of India) as their proposed candidates for the election of the President of India.
  2. It looked quite odd when the ruling party preferred to propose two options for the fellow parties to choose one for the President’s election.
  3. The ruling party alliance UPA should better have called a meeting with the opposition party alliance, something like an all-party meet to discuss a consensus candidate for the post of President.
  4. Pranab Mukherjee who appears to be the heavy-weight in Congress Party could also be a prospective candidate for prime Minister in the next general election.
  5. Pranab Mukherjee is an expert politician and played the role of troubleshooter in the Congress Party. The attempt for elevating him to the post of the President might be with some calculated purposes.
  6. The additional and optional name of Hamid Ansari might be for playing the minority card. His name might also been projected to counterweight the opposition candidate Abdul Kalam, the hi-profile renowned space scientist and the Ex-President of India.
  7. The opposition party alliance has projected the name of Abdul Kalam, a globally acclaimed personality in science and technology and who has served as the President of India.
  8. The election for the post of the first citizen of India has turned into a number game when the ruling Congress party set out for amassing majority votes by wooing their supporting parties with diverse policies and philosophies.
  9. A couple of their allies headed by Mamta Banerjee and Mulayam Singh Yadav publically expressed inclination for the opposition candidate Abdul Kalam. They even suggested the name of Man Mohan Singh, the current Prime Minister as the candidate.  
  10. This difference of policies among the allies of UPA has sparked off possibilities of political realignment and repolarization in India.
Whoever becomes the next President of India is a different matter. Nonetheless, the way the Indian ruling alliance is openly playing the number-game in this election, has exposed their doubtful intentions. The UPA could better have invited the opposition alliance NDA and collectively nominated a consensus candidate for the decorative royal post of the President of India. By doing so they would have upheld the prestige of indian republic in the eyes of the global community.

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Read more about Presidet of India Election:
Pranab Mukherjee Elected as India's 13th President: Shrewd UPA wins and Lackluster NDA Loses; http://www.discovery-of-life.com/2012/07/pranab-mukherjee-elected-as-indias-13th.html
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