Never in the history of Indian Politics have the elections for the post of President been a close contest as the upcoming one promises to be.
Post-Independence, Presidents have been Congress appointed nominees as they had the brute majority in most of the states as well as in center. Even during NDA 1.0 rule from 1999 to 2004 former PM and Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee had to choose a consensus candidate APJ Kalam who was agreeable to the so called Secular parties as he lacked the required electoral strength to choose a candidate of his liking.
But times have changed drastically since Narendra Modi has taken center stage in national politics and Amit Shah taking over the reins of BJP. Since 2014 NDA 2.0 has been ruling the country along with 17 states which shows the growing clout of Modi and Amit Shah .The thumping majorities in recent assembly elections especially in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have boosted the electoral strength and has brought them close to majority in electing their own president. It is highly improbable that Narendra Modi will not snatch onto such an opportunity.
PM Modi must consider himself lucky to have a Statesman and a gifted Politician like Pranab Mukherjee as the current President. Even though belonging to Rival Congress Party, he rose above petty politics and exemplified the true meaning of what it means to be a statesman. Whenever the Central Government issued ordinances the president cleared them, he imposed Presidential rule in Arunanchal Pradesh and Uttarakhand using Article 356 of the constitution even though both were Congress ruled states. PM Modi has himself admitted that since he assumed office Pranab Mukherjee always guided him whenever the need arose. Credit must be given to him for rejecting mercy petitions filed by Terrorists like Afzal Guru, Ajamal Kasab and Yakub Memon .
But with the term of current President expiring in July 2017 and given the electoral strength which NDA has it is unlikely that Pranab Mujkherjee will be awarded a second term. Speculations have been rife as to the probable candidates for next Presidential Elections. LK Advani was till now the strongest contender for the post of President, according to reports Narendra Modi was keen to give Guru Dakshina to his once mentor and guide. But with Supreme Court reopening the cases against him in the Babri Masjid case his chances appear bleak. But the dark horse in the race certainly seems to be Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu who will also be the first tribal president if she makes it to the top post.
Currently the opposition parties are trying to forge a united front against the ruling party, their first test being the upcoming presidential elections and choosing a candidate who will be agreeable to all the parties. In a way it will be a shot in the arm for BJP who can then cite this as the reason for not choosing a consensus candidate. PM Modi has currently kept his cards close to his chest and has not revealed his mind yet but is just using the "wait and watch" trick to see what cards will the opposition play. PM Modi is a man of surprises which was liberally shown while choosing Yogi Adityanath as the CM of UP which had even taken many senior BJP leaders by surprise. Modi is aware of the game being played out by the opposition and it will not be surprising if he springs up a candidate who will defeat the opposition in their own game. We may not know who will be the new President of India as of now but one thing is clear that we are in for a cracking contest which will definitely go down to the wire .
Posted On : 12-May-2017