Consensus Required - Eastern Mirror
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Editorial

Consensus Required

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By The Editorial Team Updated: May 16, 2017 12:18 am

Who is going to be the next President of the Republic? Few names are doing rounds. Every political party, having stake in the forthcoming election, are trying hard to sale its ideas so that their nominee becomes the next resident of Raisina Hills. Everyone is interested in it as the electoral arithmetic is not clearly in favour of one political party. Inspite of its historic win in the 2014 general elections, followed by the spectacular success of the party in the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Bharatiya Janata Party is short of nearly 1.25 lakh votes to get its nominee elected. But with their partners, the ruling coalition is just short of nearly 25 thousand votes. Seeing it as an opportunity, the opposition parties are now in the process of joining hands to erase the memories of the bitter defeats at the hands of BJP in most of the elections, held since 2014. But the opposition parties, which have so far declared their intentions to come together, do not have enough support to ensure the victory of their common candidate. Thus the parties are planning to field someone as their candidate who is capable of making a dent in the ruling coalition’s vote bank.

Clearly, the situation is a test for Indian democracy. How much it has matured over the years will come under scrutiny, when the ballots will be cast. As per the Indian constitution, the President of the Republic is the head of the state. Though, he can only function on the advice of the union cabinet belittling the importance of the highest constitutional office. Rather, it demands a person with impeccable integrity, honesty, well-versed with the functioning of the government and above all having no partisan attitude to occupy the highest seat of power in the country. Many social scientists have observed that the post of President in India is an ornamental one. But that is not true. Indian President is no rubber stamp. Indian constitution has given him enough power to interfere when the going is not in favour of the nation. One can only hope that like previous occasions, this time too, someone having the required qualities will be chosen as the next President.

So to choose the right person, it would be better if all the major political parties can reach to a consensus about the next president. Though record shows that only once a President had been elected unopposed in the country, the fact of the matter is that in other cases the fight for the top post was more on tokenism, rather than a contest. For example, in 2013, BJP and its allies put up Late Purno A Sangma as its candidate against Pranab Mukherjee. But even before the first ballot was cast, everyone knew the outcome of the election. Similarly, when Atal Behari Vajpayee was in power, to avoid a sharp divide, BJP choose Late APJ Abdul Kalam and most of the parties supported him. This time too, as the main ruling party, both BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have to propose such a name that most of the parties will support. All political parties should ensure that even if there is more than one candidate, election should not vertically divide the parties. Leaders of the parties should keep it in their minds that they are choosing the President of the Republic, not any other office-bearer.

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By The Editorial Team Updated: May 16, 2017 12:18:19 am
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