Next President – Hobson’s Choice!

Currently Mr. Pranab Mukherjee is the clear front runner to become the President of India. TV channels have already anointed him. Media is gushingly recalling his past record. The contest is all but over. Universally Mr. Mukherjee is being hailed as the ideal choice given his wide administrative experience.

However Miss Mamata Banerjee smarting from the political somersault of her erstwhile ally Mr. Mulayam Singh, who faces CBI investigation of having disproportionate assets, has defiantly stated that the “game is not over yet”. Miss Banerjee reportedly is still plugging for Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s name and is attempting to arouse public pressure for his candidature by using the Internet. Even in the remotest likelihood of Mr. Kalam emerging as a formidable rival, what is the choice before the nation? In the media both individuals are being described in superlative terms. One hates to throw cold water on their ardour but honesty compels one to recall some uncomfortable truths. 

The prime expectation from the next President would be that he becomes pro-active to ensure that the laws of the land are upheld. According to the Constitution this continues to be the President’s prerogative above that of any other office holder. So, how do Mr. Mukherjee and Mr. Kalam measure up on this aspect?

Mr. Kalam violated his oath of office to sign as President a Bill which Parliament itself admitted was flawed to make it the law of the land. It was the Office of Profit Bill.

By making that flawed Bill into law President Kalam was instrumental in keeping in office a government that would have lost majority if the flawed Bill had not become law. A petition in the Supreme Court was belatedly addressed to allow the government to remain in office for its full term. Afterwards the Court gave an astonishing judgment stating that Parliament had the right to make laws. That was never the issue. The issue was whether the President had the right to make an admittedly defective Bill into Law. This was not a minor lapse. Arguably, President Kalam even made himself vulnerable to impeachment.

Take the case of Mr. Mukherjee. Never mind his long and dedicated record in the service of a notoriously corrupt party. Just one recent incident should suffice. As Finance Minister Mr. Mukherjee in order to defuse the wide public criticism over the government’s inaction on the issue of black money in foreign banks signed an international treaty with the Swiss government in January 2011. To nail the guilty the list of those who may have held illegal foreign bank accounts in the past was crucial. Even if the money had been transferred elsewhere the record of having had an illegal foreign bank account was damning. According to credible sources there was one such account even in the name of Rajiv Gandhi to the tune of over 2 billion US dollars.

So, what did Mr. Mukherjee do? He signed a treaty by which information on all accounts before 2011 would remain secret!

After signing the treaty, the official spokesperson of Switzerland’s Federal Tax Administration department on January 19, 2011 said:  “The exchange of information will be applicable for information that relates to any fiscal year beginning on or after the 1st January 2011, as soon as the protocol has been given effect.” 

Let us be happy that we shall soon be getting a new President. But let us not lose our sense of balance. As yet there is no sign of any desirable change resulting from the event.   


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

Top | Analysis

Views: 3309      Comments: 6

Comment Every Politician has a cat in his/her bag. Afzal Guru did survive long. Bhopal
tragedy and its aftermoth lasted long. Adarsh Society!. Rajiv Gandhi--Gift-
Russia and what not! Even Indira Gandhi was not clean. These (and
many) are our Politicians. Does Pranav or A.K make any difference?
We people want bread and butter to eat, clothes to wear, right to speak >
Can President promise it? And at what cost? Sardar Patel humbled before
Gandhiji. Subhas Bose was one, but find one like him. I salute him. I want
blessing from God to make India great.

Pranlal Sheth
20-Jun-2012 04:20 AM

Comment I personally think the appropriate candidate for the post of President of India that the NDA should consider is Mr. Jethmalani; a capable Supreme Court Lawyer.

During his tenure as a minister in the NDA govt. he had the vision to scrap the Urban Land Ceiling Act.

He also announced that archaic laws from the British era that had lost their relevance would be scrapped.

Unfortunately and for reasons best known to the bosses in the NDA he was promptly divested of his portfolio.

Ravinder Malhotra
19-Jun-2012 02:00 AM

Comment It appears APJ had barely rudimentary knowledge of Parliamentary affairs, but the crook in contention now is the opposite: from acting as Sanjay Gandhi's chauffeur, to overseeing all Emergency excesses including imprisonment of Maharani Gayatri Devi, being indicted by the Shah commission and making every copy of that commission report disappear, to being booted out by party goons for shooting his mouth after Mrs G's assassination, to hiding Gandhi family loot, to deliberately misleading Parliament in the Hasan Ali case, to changing laws for dealing with the Swiss, this crook has seen and done it all. He is a fitting replacement to the earlier crook in office, Pratibha "Patil" Devsing, whose antecedents Arun Shourie has documented so effectively.All in all, the K part is brazenly open in its' corruption and does not care about public opinion or perception whatsoever-- the survival of the family and the party is the be-all and end-all of its' miserable existence.
Subramaniam Swamy is on record ( in the Supreme Court, no less), that at least 90 seats in the last Gen. Election have been manipulated in favour of the kkkangress by misusing the EVMs.
At least 25 years out of office is what is needed to teach these despicable crooks a lesson.

18-Jun-2012 23:59 PM

Comment I am not familiar with the details about the "Office of Profit" Bill. But, as far as my knowledge goes, the President does not have a choice if the Bill is sent the second time for his/her approval. May be, "My Word" knows better. Quite possible that Dr.Kalam's advisers and Dr.Kalam himself was not familiar with the rules. Even so, it is not to be glossed over. But, I presume, it is an inadvertent error.

I have my own serious reservations about Pranab Daa. Let's hope he will do a good job. Anyway, Mrs.Sonia was never very keen to have Pranab Daa for President post as her first choice. It was Mulayam's wiliness which forced her hand. She did not want anyone other than Manmohan Singh as PM. So, she chose Pranab Daa for President. But, I really doubt, if Pranab will do justice to the post of President.

It is desirable to have a consensus for the post of President, so that the President is always above all biases since in a critical situation, he is the last authority.

Kaipa Srinivasa Reddy
17-Jun-2012 10:09 AM

Comment Krish, you are wrong. When Parliament itself said that the Bill was defective and needed to be amended which it would do later after President signed it, the President violated his oath of office by signing a defective Bill to make it law. Parliament never ameded it to this day. The whole exercise was malafide and made President open to impeachment. He helped a fraudulent government which had lost its majority to continue in office. I wrote all this when it occurred. There was no convincing reply from Rashtrapati Bhawan at that time. Only after demiting office Kalam gave a weak unconvincing reply through his secretary which made no sense. Kalam even faulted by okaying the dismissal of the Bihar assembly which was later deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. I sympathize with your admirtion for Kalam but the truth should be faced however unapalatable.

My Word
17-Jun-2012 09:39 AM

Comment Sir, you are right about Pranab Mukherjee. But the President is bound to accept the advice of his PM, that is the convention and the understanding of the law of the land.

17-Jun-2012 08:02 AM

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