The two Presidential nominees are going door-to-door appealing to parties and ministers to vote for them.
P.A. Sangma seems to have come into his own, but that could be a smart appearance with canny backing. Let us not forget he had a forgettable stint as Lok Sabha speaker. It is fair enough that Congress candidate Pranab Mukherjee is challenged, although a consensus would be more in keeping with the post. However, Mr.Sangma, even if he is not elected, will have made a few unfortunate points:
- The post is a sop (he has pushed his adivasi status)
- The post is used for regional gains (quite suddenly, everything North East has become quite in, without any real proactive measures being announced)
- The post is being seen as an alternative
Here, Mr. Sangma has been cutting:
"Whatever problem is there in the country today, the price rise problem, the GDP growth rate problem, the FDI problem, petrol price problem, Finance Minister is to be responsible, for which he is to be dumped. And unfortunately, Raisina Hill has become a dumping ground. It is unfortunate for India.”
There is a belief that Mr. Mukherjee is being ’elevated’ for this reason. Surely, he could be moved to another portfolio? There is no compulsion to keep him happy.
The dumping ground theory might turn out to be ironical if Mr. Sangma wins. What happens to Pranabda? Will it be a loss of face for the Congress or a victory for those opposing his selection? Would P A Sangma come out as the underdog?
Not quite. He too would be the ‘dumped’ by those who need a puppet. The BJP, BJD, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the AIADMK – importantly from different regions – are supporting him, or rather challenging Mukherjee. He is trying to get the support of the NCP as well as the Shiv Sena. About the possibility of getting to meet Bal Thackeray, the final deciding force in his party, he said:
"Not everything in politics happens through meetings. Like you (media) have channels, we also have several channels."
This is unfortunate. Worse, with so much bad blood, emotional blackmail, and appealing to varied instincts, will we get a president who will not be partisan?
And should Mukherjee get there, will the other political parties, as well as those who have read and taken Sangma seriously, respect him and the position he holds and not look on him as a castaway?
I wish it were an open ballot. The least a democracy deserves to know is the person who might be at the very least in charge of dealing with death penalties is not elected by specific ministerial huddles for personal gains.