With the presidential elections round the corner, the debate, apprehensions and the arguments are many. Does India need a political person or does she need an apolitical person as the 13th president of the Indian republic? While we all know that the president is the constitutional head of our country with limited powers and authority, yet at the same time he or she who becomes the president commands the highest level of reverence. A president is a person we should all look up to. The president is the first citizen of our country and the position commands immense respect nationally and internationally.
While many names are doing the rounds, each having their own support base, it was quite a surprise to find Mr. Sam Pitroda winning a popular opinion poll conducted by one of the leading national news channels of the country with former president Dr. Abul Kalam's name in a close second position. If the results of this opinion poll have to be considered for arriving at a logical conclusion, we can rightfully say that the current citizens of our country are more concerned with the dignity the position occupies, rather than the party or the political background to which the candidate belongs.
Unfortunately the citizens of India don't have any say in the presidential elections. It is our electoral representatives in both houses of the parliament who does the voting. Let us take the case of our current president Ms. Pratibha Patel. While she is the first lady president of Indian republic, unfortunately with due regards to her, her accomplishments have been very limited during her tenure, caught in a travel controversy of Rs. 200 crores as her travel cost for travelling with her huge family, is not something one expects out of the president's chair. On the other hand our 10th president, Mr. KR Narayan was also a first of his kind. He was the first 'Dalit' and the first "Malayali' to become the president of our country. He has set a great example in upholding the dignity of the post of president in his tenure and was also the first president to vote while in office. So what matters is not merely being the 'first' but how the role is executed by the president of our country.
Dr. Abul Kalam Azad, Pratibha's predecessor was a hugely popular president however his weaknesses are that he has been always perceived as an NDA candidate by the Congress Party. Also his controversial decision on dissolving the Bihar assembly during his tenure is completely not free of controversy. However inspite of such stray incidents Dr. Azad is widely respected for his feats and his achievements.
While Mr. Somnath Chatterjee, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, Dr. Karan Singh and Meira Kumar's names are also doing rounds as the presidential candidates, Meira kumar's chances are feeble if we follow the logic that in all probability, two women would not be elected consecutively for the position of president. While Mr. Pranab Mukherjee shares an uneasy relationship with 10, Race Course Road, Somnath Chatterjee and Karan Singh fail to enjoy the kind of political support required to be serious contenders for the president's position.
We as citizen of the country can therefore pray and hope that whoever is finally elected as the next president of our republic, continue to uphold the dignity of the position irrespective of coming from a political or an apolitical background. It's the actions that matter which will not only make us proud to have a president who is looked up to by us but by the entire world in the coming years.
About Author / Additional Info:
The author resides in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. While she is not busy with her work or her 11 year old daughter, she loves reading, writing, travelling and listening to music.