June 23, 2007

Mama Mia!

Now that President APJ Abdul Kalam has decided to ‘gracefully’ let go of a second term in office things should get easier for the others in the race. Pratiba Patil has emerged from nowhere to become the front-runner for the post of President of India. While the media debates and celebrates a woman occupying the highest post in India, I can’t help but wonder where are things headed? Don’t get me wrong I’m all for women and if I could vote for Mrs. Patil, I’d have gladly done so.

This whole tamasha of selecting the President of India has become so strange that it’s not funny. When someone suggested Abdul Kalam’s name five years ago there was a mixed reaction. I, for one, thought that was the stupidest suggestion someone could come up with. I was thinking that has India lost all the ‘statesmen’ who were supposed to get old and become presidents of the largest democracy of the world? Had things changed so much that barring Dr. Karan Singh there wasn’t anyone who at least looked the part?

Over the last 5 years I might have changed my opinion about Kalam and he might have become the first ‘common man’ President of the country but I still think that the criterion for choosing or nominating a President shouldn’t be confused with petty politics. I may not be saying anything new but think about it- Sonia Gandhi clearly knows her game; not only did she get a Maharashtrian married to a Rajashthani, she got a woman. What a masterstroke, for no one worth his or her salt can’t fight that combo and the only person fit to put up a fight was Rocket Man Kalam but he’s not going to do that.

This time around things are a little different. The politicians smartly use the press to fight it out. Just yesterday some one from Maharashtra has claimed that Pratiba Patil’s brother is guilty of killing her husband and that the President designates power has made sure nothing happens to her brother. The government denied the whole thing as a petty attack by the Opposition while they suggested that India is a free country and the Media is doing a good job! Well more such worms will be leaving the can in the next few days but I don’t think anything’s going to spoil the party for Mrs. Patil-Shekhawat.

This Pratiba Patil looks like someone one who knows that in less than a month she’s going to host a party in the Rashtrapati Bhawan. I like people with confidence, who doesn’t? But the smug look with which she’s operating these days, calling on people, etc is testimony of the fact that Sonia Gandhi is really smart and she now has her ‘men’ in both of the highest offices in India.

Mama mia!

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