The opposition party is the government-in-waiting. Given that this onerous responsibility is on its shoulders, it perhaps may not have been the right move for it to make in suggesting that Purno Sangma is the right person for the post of the President of India. And to add to it all, no less than BJP leader LK Advani has come out all guns blazing to suggest this name.
The race to Raisina Hill has already become quite murky so to muddy the waters even further does not become someone as eminent as the former leader of the Opposition. It is still unclear whether all the NDA leaders will come on board with this name. The UPA may have thought that Pranab-da is a clear candidate but the NDA seems keen on a fight for the top post.
This has come to be a problem given the issues with the allies. Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee seems to be hoping for a fight with the ruling coalition. It would appear that she has also spoken to key members of the Opposition. There is no doubt that Mr Sangma has many qualities that make him eminently qualified for the post of the president. As a Speaker in Parliament, he presided over several debates which were known for their erudition and excellence. But the BJP must know that it is futile to pick up a fight on this issue when is it all but clear that the ruling party will get its way. The NDA has come out publicly in its desire to get the Trinamool Congress on board. This does suggest an amount of desperation. Ms Banerjee’s repeated statements that she would ‘love’ to support the candidature of either Gopalkrishna Gandhi or Meira Kumar does not bode well for a leader of her stature.
The BJP must make up its mind, and should get the approval of candidates like former president APJ Abdul Kalam, who has now made it clear that he will not contest before going public with its suggestions. The other parties like the AIADMK seem to be playing fast and loose with names for the president. This really diminishes the post. The ruling party and the Opposition may not agree on many issues. But when it comes to something as important as the office of the president, it would be appropriate for them to come to some sort of accommodation. Mr Advani is no novice when it comes to politics. He knows best that it does not become the Opposition to have such an ugly fight on the issue of who should become the next president of India. He, of all people, knows that this would be in keeping with the party which might come to power.