In the election season, it is perfectly valid for opponents to unleash all the arrows in their political quiver. Often this takes on the form of personal attacks. However, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who has enough ammunition against the government, could have done without dragging the office of the President into the political discourse.
In what seemed to be an attempt at appealing to Bengali pride and stitch up a post-poll alliance with the Trinamool Congress, Mr Modi referred to the two occasions on which Pranab Mukherjee was ‘denied’ the prime ministership, the first being in 1984 after the assassination of Indira Gandhi and the second time in 2004 when the top post went to Manmohan Singh.
However, while it can be argued that on both occasions Mr Mukherjee was an active politician, he is now the President and above the political battleground. It is embarrassing to bring Mr Mukherjee into the campaign fight and demean the high constitutional office that he holds.
Mr Modi is no ordinary politician, he is aspiring for the post of PM. And therefore, he should have been a lot more careful with his words. It was not so long ago that the BJP itself was in turmoil over the choice of the PM candidate and it was after quite a public battle with party patriarch LK Advani that Mr Modi’s name was agreed upon.
Many at that time felt that despite his age, Mr Advani might have been a greater unifying factor. But in the end, the party plumped for much great voter appeal of Mr Modi.
The main issues that could have been raised would have been a plan to draw greater investment to West Bengal and improve the rather shaky social sector.
We have today the spectacle of all sorts of politicians making wild allegations in order to score political brownie points. But Mr Modi cannot be among them at a time when the nation seems to be going through political turmoil and Parliament getting stalled every other day.
This could have been avoided at a time when people are desperate to hear concrete plans from all political formations of what they will bring to the table if voted to power in the coming elections.