It was precisely eight years ago when the then ruling political party BJP was blown up by the electorates in the then held General Elections and the leaders of the party were frantic to make people forget about their defeat. The janta had suddenly pulled out the plug and the “India Shining” hoopla of the BJP suddenly stopped shining.
On the other side of the same street the winning Indian National Congress amid celebrations was looking at a squall. The president of the party, Sonia Gandhi, was being speculated as a potential Prime Ministerial candidate and the Delhi Durbar was camped by the likes of Harkishan Singh Surjit and Lalu Parsad Yadav among others. Meetings were being held till late at night and United Progressive Alliance was to be born within few hours. The labor pains were thus, palpable. Sonia Gandhi was an Italian citizen and had married the former PM Rajiv Gandhi in 1968 and was living in India since then. Though, the formalities concerning her nationality were taken care off well, since long time ago (refer the previous article) but, this was the issue the Congress had been facing since the day she took over as the party’s President. This issue of Gandhi’s nationality was alive again, louder than ever and on the basis of this issue one of the agitated leaders of the BJP, Sushma Swaraj was ready to go bald if Sonia Gandhi was made the Prime Minister of India. This was the virtual political squall created by Swaraj and her party, which the Congress was looking at and was ready to take it head on. But also, as I said, the labor pains were evident too.
However, Gandhi had something else in her mind and same would have been with the prominent leaders of the allies of her party. Dr. Manmohan Singh was elected as the Prime Minister of India and Sonia Gandhi was to be the Chairman of the newly born United Progressive Alliance. Everything by UPA at that time, happened very quietly without any propaganda and everything would keep on happening very quietly for a decade to come; everything good, bad or ugly! Sushma Swaraj went home keeping at least her hair shinning and so did the rest of the BJP; reminding the country again of their, supposed to be forgotten, defeat.
Dr. Manmohan Singh was not an unknown name in India as he has been in the political arena since longer than ever and had managed the Finance portfolios at different levels. Though, he wasn’t naturally a politician but more of an administrator and would remain so incessantly. This is where the “apolitical politics” began and on every possible moment the opposition (NDA, apart from the Akali Dal) would repeatedly prod the Government for having a non-political PM. The Government after completing its five year term was re-elected by the electorates and with more powers. Dr. Singh continued as the PM and so did the non-political rhymes of the opposition lead by BJP and its followers. The opposition is successful in doing so because the PM doesn’t give frowning political speeches, doesn’t lure as a politician and hence is not considered by the BJP as one from their own clan. Nevertheless, seriously a Prime Minister doesn’t need to be one!
Anyhow, this agenda against the PM has been so deep rooted that people today want a yelling PM, someone who would shout in ire on any issue, raising their goose-bumps. May be they want someone like G. W. Bush, the former President of USA, who while declaring the war on Afghanistan appeared on the national television, squeezed his eyes, broadened his nose and said, “my fellow Americans, let’s roll”!
The opposition has been stabbing Dr. Singh for being non-political; Dr. Singh has been taking the hard hits and still moving on. It has been eight years and things are alike. This year, 2012, the country is ready to have its new first citizen, the President of India and every political party is busy considering the options of credible candidates. Out of all, the BJP is still singing its apolitical tunes but this time in the favor of it. Sushma Swaraj, yes again, who is also the leader of opposition in the lower house of the Parliament, on behalf of the BJP said that they want an apolitical President and has proposed to re-elect the former President Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and has made it clear that they will not support any candidate to be nominated by the Congress, be it any. To add amuse, all of the BJP’s political partners have distanced themselves from its apolitical gibbering and has shown trust in other possible candidates that are being named in the media, precisely the present Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari, Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee, CEC Dr. S. Y. Quraishi among others, regardless of them being political or not. Undeniably, Dr Kalam too fits in as a potential candidate but, I can safely say that on this, “apolitical President”, issue created by the BJP, the NDA is divided. It’s the time that Sushma Swaraj and her party should realize that the halcyon days, when BJP meant NDA, are over and it is the time for them to construct ethical strategies.
One may ask them that what difference it makes if India has an apolitical or political president. We’ve always had political Presidents apart from Dr. Kalam and mostly all of the Presidents have done reasonably well. What should matter the most is that we must have a President who shall be constructive and meaningful towards his/ her duties at the top most position of Republic of India.
Till this time, the speculations are still on about who the next President will be; may be the UPA Government, as known for its silent drafting, has a surprise for the last moment.