I have refrained from commenting on the Presidential election so far b'cos of the sheer banality of the whole exercise. But Kalam's somersault yesterday has awoken me from slumber. I have already commented on his Presidency here and here. I'm writing today to strongly oppose a second term for him.
First things first. The opinion polls are meaningless. If we were to decide on the whims and fancies of the mob, this country would go to dogs. But it is easy to decipher that most Indians would prefer an eminent person away from the bad world of Indian politics. A woman president would be icing on the cake. Kalam or even Narayana Murthy get favorable opinions because India's incredibly 'uneducated' voters in these polls are neither presented with better options nor are they aware of better candidates. If Kalam completes a second term, the mob would no doubt root for him again since it knows no one else.
Shekhawat and Pratibha Patil are not bad candidates by themselves. But they are just ordinary people and it won't hurt to have a more inspiring person at Raisana Hill. I see the logic in BJP supporting Shekhawat. He is one of their seniormost leaders and has even earned respect across the political spectrum as Vice President. Pratibha Patil's nomination is a little suspect though. Ok, she is uncontroversial and a self-made woman politician. But does she have it in her to be the President? Obviously No. And her incredibly stupid opinion that Indian women took to veils in response to Mughal invaders is disgusting.
Now to Kalam. Dude, why the heck did you not reply favorably when BJP made a zillion trips to Rashrtapati Bhavan to convince you to seek a second term? Are you also bitten by the pseudo-secularism bug that makes you say 'yes' to a 'secular' third front initative but not an NDA one? Shame on you. Aren't you doing this only to embarrass the Congress and the Left parties? Whats wrong with the Left assertion that "you were good but we could now have another eligible person"? (Its another matter that the Left could not go beyond blocking fools like Shivraj Patil and Karan Singh).
The President's post is highly symbolic and hence there's nothing wrong in implementing a quota system. I find nothing wrong in asking for a Maharashtrian or a Rajasthani candidate. There has been no President from the women, north east, bengali, parsi, christian quotas either. For this time I support a woman for president. And here are my nominations.
1. Romila Thapar - Eminent Historian. May not be acceptable to Hindutva folks though.
2. Mahashewata Devi - Eminent Writer and Tribal activist. Except for age, I can't find anything wrong with her.
3. Dr. V. Shanta - Magsaysay Award winning Cancer specialist. We have had too many presidents from South India though.
4. Lata Mangeshkar - Bharat Ratna. I myself have expressed reservations about her intelligence and social responsibilities here. But she can sell Bollywood to the world.
5. Mrinal Pandey - Editor of Hindustan. Isn't it time to have a journalist as President?
And finally, unlike the post of President, the vice-President needs to be a Politician. Especially one comfortable in Parliament because he/she chairs the Rajya Sabha. For this post, I nominate Purno Sangma. A Christian from north east who has great experience as speaker of Lok Sabha. What more could you ask?
Once more. Kalam, get out and get a life.
Update: As skeletons tumble out of Pratibha's closet, I'm withdrawing my earlier statement "Shekhawat and Pratibha Patil are not bad candidates by themselves". I'm also glad that Kalam got back his senses albeit reluctantly.