Tuesday, July 03, 2007


The Congress has nominated Pratibha Patil as its candidate for the post of President of India.

The BJP too has nominated Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat as an independent candidate.

Both parties have manipulated to push forward their own candidates in the hope that in the 2009 general elections if they fail to secure absolute majority, the President may invite the party which sponsored him or her in the first instance to form the government. Once the government is formed, other parties would line up to share power and would help the ruling party to secure a Vote of Confidence in Parliament.

The irony is that neither Congress nor BJP command absolute majority in the Electoral College for the Presidential Election. It is the regional parties who command absolute majority. Yet both the Congress and BJP are able to push forward the candidature of their own parties by dividing the regional parties.

So far as the Constitution of India is concerned, it does not recognise any political party or combination of parties such as UPA, NDA, UNPA, etc. For the purpose of electing the President of India the Constitution recognises only the elected members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and State Assemblies. Who knows after the 2009 general elections there may not be any such bodies as UPA, NDA, UNPA, etc.?

India claims to be a federal polity with a strong bias towards a unitary form of government. It is the Centre, which calls the shots. The States are dependent upon the Centre for their share of revenues. The Centre appoints Governors of States and the States can be dismissed simply by an adverse report by the Governor. Under the present dispensation the States are treated as mere vassals of the Centre. Obviously, such a state of affairs is not conducive to the proper development of States and cannot last for long.

It is high time that regional parties put up their own candidate for the post of President of India. If elected, such a person will not act in a partisan manner at the time of 2009 general elections.

Moreover, if this experiment succeeds, it can be repeated at the time of 2009 general elections. This will also restore the balance of power in favour of the States vis-a-vis the Centre.

A Prime Minister who commands the respect of all the regional parties is anytime better than a person who is imposed upon the nation through convergence of fortuitous circumstances.


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