Suspense continues over Left’s candidate for President
The suspense over the Left’s candidate for President continued on Wednesday with the leadership of the four Left parties laying down only the criterion, but not the name of the candidate, for the top executive post. The Presidential election is slated for June.
The Left parties, however, added that consultations have been held with the Congress and other constituencies of the UPA including RJD and DMK on the issue. Talks have also been held with non-UPA parties. The name would be announced in the next few days, they said, adding that there’s unlikely to be further delays in declaring a name.
The new President, the Left parties made it clear today, would necessarily have to be from the school of politics, and not, say, a technocrat or a scientist. The person’s credentials, besides being ``strongly secular’’, would also have to be political, top Left leaders said.
The criterion were decided after the four Left parties, CPI (M), CPI, All India Forward Bloc and RSP, met on Wednesday afternoon. Emerging after the meeting, CPI (M) general secretary, Prakash Karat, said that the Left would like to see candidate for President who has some ``political stature and the required political background and knowledge.’’
Karat explained that the President should be knowledgeable about the Constitution and issues like the balance between the executive and the judiciary. ``He should have intimate knowledge of politics,’’ Karat added.
The secular credential of the candidate would be of paramount importance. ``Since 1992, after the Ayodhya dispute, the Left have been conscious of the need for a President with strong secular credentials. This principle is very important for upholding the secular credentials of the country,’’ Karat said.
He added that various names were being discussed but it was not for the Left to finalise any name. ``We will again speak to the UPA. A common ground has been reached,’’ Karat said.
On the issue of the pension bill, the CPI (M) leader said that the Left would be writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the new notifications that were recently issued by the Centre. The new notification allows local private fund managers get on board a foreign partner for pension fund management. The limit of foreign investment would be 26 per cent.
Karat said that the Left were ``surprised’’ at the ``backdoor’’ tactics adopted. `` We have serious objections to the new pension scheme and have been discussing (the bill) with the UPA for more than two-and-half years. The pension system needs to be revamped. We will write to the PM to put on hold the notification,’’ Karat said.