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Shekhawat against 'rubber stamp' President

The country should not have a President who signs every file and document without understanding its implications, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat says, reports Srinand Jha.
Hindustan Times | By Srinand Jha, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 05, 2007 09:27 PM IST

The country should not have a "rubber stamp" President who signs every file and document without understanding its implications, NDA-backed Presidential nominee Bhairon Singh Shekhawat has said.

CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechuri, on the other hand, has slammed the BJP for launching a "scurrilous campaign" against UPA Presidential nominee Pratibha Patil, while stating that the saffron party had done immense harm to Shekhawat’s candidature by publicising the fact that he had served the police during the freedom struggle and received a note of commendation upon his discharge from service in 1948.

Shekhawat – in an interview to India Today editor Prabhu Chawla – said that the country was presently witnessing a complex political environment and the political establishment should consecrate the principle of making the Vice President the natural choice for presidency. Rating prospects of his own victory being "good", Shekhawat said he was the "best choice in a bad situation".

Asked why he was fighting a losing battle, Shekhawat said he was committing no crime in exercising his democratic right despite the arithmetics of the Electoral College not being in his favor. "I am driven by choice, not numbers. The cardinal principle of democracy is that the electorate should not be denied a choice," he said.

Meanwhile, referring to Shekhawat’s election manager Sushma Swaraj’s statement relating to the NDA-backed presidential nominee’s stint in the police service as a probationary sub-inspector between 1942 and 1948, Yechuri said this was proof that Shekhawat served the police force and acted against the Indian freedom movement. The Quit India movement was launched in 1942; what does it mean to serve the police during the period, Yechuri has asked in an editorial in the forthcoming issue of "People’s Democracy".

Yechuri also quoted a report of the Bombay Home department during the 1942 movement as saying that the "Sangha has scrupulously kept itself within the law and in particular has refrained from taking part in the disturbances that broke out in August 1942".

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