It was a charming story told by sister about our new president Pranab Mukherjee. It seems when he was young, he wanted to be the horse pulling the buggy that takes the president to his new residence. Today, that dream translated into him being pulled by the horse and buggy to the highest office in the land. It was a grand sight, the imperial splendour in which the man who started at the grassroots and excelled himself in all the posts he has held moved into the most coveted residence in India. In a departure from his usual sartorial choices, he wore a black sherwani and white pyjamas, which breathless commentators told us were similar to that of the great Rajendra Prasad when he took office. We may rail and rant against our politicians but there were few who were not moved by the majestic ceremonies accompanying the elevation of the president.
What was striking was that there was a sense of elation across the political spectrum that a man of such achievement had risen to such a post. Of course, there will be much debate on what kind of president he will be, will he be an activist like Zail Singh, will he be hands-off like Shankar Dayal Sharma, will he be a people’s president like APJ Abdul Kalam and so on. But that is par for the course. But what does seem a shame that though Mr Mukherjee won fair and square, his rival PA Sangma appears to be preparing to file charges against him on the grounds that he holds an office of profit, something which has been vehemently denied. It seems inconceivable that a person of Mr Mukherjee’s political acumen would do such a thing after he entered the race for president. Mr Sangma, it would appear, is a sore loser. To add to this, the Anna gang has also jumped into the fray questioning Mr Mukherjee’s credentials. It would appear that they are making these noises to ride on the coat tails of the publicity that surrounds Mr Mukherjee assuming office. Whatever the Anna crew may say, Mr Mukherjee has won the post by getting the requisite number of votes, not through street corner politics.
The office of the president is above politics. It is a shame that the atmosphere is sought to be vitiated by these kinds of allegations even before Mr Mukherjee has got off the starting blocks. However surrounded by family and well-wishers, it is unlikely that Mr Mukherjee will lose any sleep over all this today. He will probably be reminiscing about the horse which turned into the carriage.