By NVONews.Com Political Correspondent,
India presidential elections can go both way. Or so it seems. So far the latest development is concerned the Trinamool Congress president and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee seems to be an isolated person. She is neither with the UPA nor with the NDA nor with any state leader too on the issue of the presidential election.
Though several regional satraps like Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav tried to seek their own pound of flesh and kept the Congress at tenterhook till the last moment Mamata went on to make the battle with the Union finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee, a personal one. Thus, she appears to be losing the race.
What is strange is that even the arch-rival of the Congress in West Bengal, the Left Front, is not averse to the candidature of Pranab Mukherjee. Perhaps they played the card of regional sentiment better than Mamata and found it the best way to leave her high and dry.
The Samajwadi Party, after the initial reservations, has made it clear that it has no problem with the candidature of Pranab Mukherjee. Even the Bahujan Samaj Party, which is opposed to both the Congress and Samajwadi Party, has no such problem.
Never since 1969 when V V Giri became the President the election was so much marred by controversy. Then it was the intra-Congress rivalry, which led to the defeat of Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, who was the official Congress candidate and supported by the party stalwarts. However, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi backed V V Giri, a renowned trade union leader, and asked the members to vote on their conscience. This subsequently led to the split of the Indian National Congress. Leaders like Morarji Desai went on to form Congress (Organization).
Forty-three years later the situation is somewhat different. There is no differences within the Congress. But is is in minority and badly needs support of the regional and smaller parties to install its man as the President.
What is strange in India today is that once again it is not the election of the Prime Minister but that of the President which is becoming a subject of controversy. However, the target is the post of Prime Minister too as initially, even Mulayam Singh Yadav, wanted Manmohan Singh to be named as the presidential candidate.
So if Pranab is removed from the post of finance minister and elevated as the President of the country Manmohan Singh would certainly take a sigh of relief. Not only will he run the finance ministry on his own way he would, in a way, get rid of a man, who always used to pose a challenge before him.
If Congress manages to win support of other parties and succeed in installing Pranab to Rashtrapati Bhawan what will Mamata do now?