Sunday, June 17, 2012

Presidential candidate

The UPA's choice of Pranab Mukherjee as its presidential candidate has been well received not only in political circles but in the country at large. It's hard to think of many people with credentials comparable to Mr Mukherjee's- or with such broad acceptability. If Mukherjee does make it to Rashtrapati Bhavan- and this looks highly probable now- it would show that, for all its contentiousness, the Indian political process is capable of throwing up the right choice.

Two other comments on this issue. One, the discussions in the political class highlighted the complete disconnect between the social media- the Internet and Twitter crowd- and the political class. The social media had been pushing for a non-political person. Some of the names one came across: N R Narayana Murthy, E Sreedharan, Ratan Tata and even Anna Hazare. In the last few weeks, as the race hotted up, not one of these names was mentioned even in passing in political circles. Whatever the differences amongst them, politicians are united in believing that the president should be somebody with a political background. (Kalam qualifies now as he has been president and I guess he qualified earlier as somebody who held a position in government for very long). In this, I believe the political class was entirely right. The havoc that a non-politician posing as a messiah can create is unimaginable.

Two, am I the only one disappointed with Kalam not shooting down his candidature? By convention, nobody has held the office for more than one term. Kalam is 81. It would be have been appropriate for Kalam to have declared at the very outset that he would not like to be considered. Instead, I understand from media reports that he is still keeping his options open.


Anonymous said...

1) Would you say the same thing for our current president, as you now say for Pranab da, as far as the political class being able to filter out the best candidate is concerned? If yes, (eyebrows raised), else, your conclusion about the political process may be premature?

2) As far as Kalam's age goes, Pranab is 76, Manmohan Singh is 79. Why is 81 suddenly a point of concern. Kalam looks healthier (and saner) than the other two.

3) Your contempt for the social media "crowd" and twitterati is amazing. They are the more educated of your country, whether you like it or not. If you accept our politicians as they are, you might as well accept the online "crowd" for what they are, and they are only going to grow in the next few years.

4) "The havoc that a non-politician posing as a messiah can create is unimaginable."

a) The president hardly does anything - why do you think they would have to pose as messiah?
b) If you say so for the nominal post of President, what do you think about the non-politician occupying the post of Prime Minister, which is a far more relevant post?
c) And, why are there non-politicians nominated in the Rajya Sabha where those MPs have a more important role than the president, in terms of law-making?

Anonymous said...

As far Pranab's suitability is concerned, the online "crowd" fails to understand what his accomplishments are.

As far as we can make out, his one and only credential is that of being a supreme sycophant of the Gandhi family, similar to the outgoing president.

As policy expert Pratap Bhanu Mehta has said, we keep calling Mr. Pranab Mr Fixit, when he has broken the back of the economy.

He is also the one who was quite vocal in the cartoon controversy, saying that the cartoons should be removed. Fine example the president of India sets for the people.

The only silver lining is that he will vacate the far more important post of FM, and will go to an office where he can do less harm.

Anonymous said...

"Your contempt for the social media "crowd" and twitterati is amazing."

And also completely understandable - no matter how unqualified these jerks may be to comment on a topic, they still feel the need to spout nonsense. We don't hearing them give their views on cardiosurgical techniques but every two bit moron who can compose 140 characters without pausing to scratch his / her ass feels qualified enough to hold forth on the economy, on democracy and other substantive issues of which they know nothing save their middle class West Delhi baniya level biases

Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with the harshest criticism and rebuke, as long as there is a line or two about the matter at hand as well.

The online crowd don't mind being told that they are spouting nonsense. They are usually quite reasonable and happy to be corrected, unlike some people whose stunted development limits them to ponder about the origin and caste of people and to not question anything around them.

And, you must be one of those who considers economics a science. How sad. Do you consider democracy a science too - that would be weird.

Anonymous said...

What has economics being a science or not got to do with anything? I don't consider English literature a science but I don't hold forth on the works of John Dryden if I couldn't tell him apart from Samuel Johnson

Btw, the Nobel Prize committee awards a prize in the subject of 'Economic Sciences' - maybe you should direct your.

Your poorly articulated statements do much to prove my point about the so called 'twitterati'

Anonymous said...

Well, the simple point was... never mind. Fair enough, my bad, in that I haven't clarified. I do wish I could articulate it better.

Its funny how you would say it doesn't matter, but you take the pains to point out that it might be considered so by the Nobel committee. Interesting, you haven't negated my guess so far! Its sadder still.

Come on, at least give them credit for not pausing to scratch their asses, as you put it. I now know why your post stinks.


PS: Note to the professor: sorry, I couldn't let go of this silly diversion into ad hominems. Please feel free to delete my posts. I'm sorry for the nastiness, and I will not post comments in future. That should make the other Anon happy too. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

The debate seems to be divided. I would say that rather than mooting over Political or Apolitical candidature for President, we should focus on competency of candidates proposed. And considering the competence, I don't see a better alternate than Mr Mukherjee.

Moreover, populace at large have this notion that President doesn't have much role to play. Well, I would contradict to that. He has good role to play, but because his/her office remains silent (which ideally should be so), the general mass remains oblivion of contribution made by this office.

All said & done, the conundrum is not whether Mukherjee should take over President's candidature; rather it is who will succeed him in office of Finance Minister, which is the imperative role at this juncture of Indian Economy.

sujatha said...

Well said, it is vital to find the right mix of competency in the core area and political acumen to fill the place of FM.
Pranab Mukerjee with years spent in politics will perhaps bring a new dimension to his role of a President. He deserves this opportunity

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