The election of the President and Vice President is due in 2017 (June and July). President Pranab Mukherjee’s term ends on July 25, 2017, while that of Vice President Hamid Ansari ends in August 2017. Political circles in Maharashtra, and, indeed, all over the country, are agog with speculation after a post appeared on the social networking site Facebook “seeking opinion” about the possibility of NCP Chief Sharad Pawar becoming the country’s President for the next term beginning 2017. Pawar has been Chief Minister of Maharashtra thrice, Union Minister of Defence and the Union Minister for Agriculture, and also the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha for a while. He is one of the strongest players of Maharashtra politics, and his revolt against Sonia Gandhi was much before BJP’s ‘Congress Mukt’ campaign.
There were assumptions over the election of the next President and Vice President of India. One of the front runners was supposed to be the NCP chief Sharad Pawar that drew a cluster of leaders from across the political spectrum. In Maharashtra his 75th birthday was celebrated in a grand manner, everyone was sure that he would be promoted by PM Narendra Modi and BJP as President of India in 2017.
Pawar had earlier said that he cannot become President as his Nationalist Congress Party was a small outfit and lacked the numbers at the national level. But if he manages to win support from the regional parties, and given that he has friends in all parties, the Congress will not be able to afford opposing him. A section of MPs also felt that Pawar could well become a unanimity candidate for vice president given his wide acceptability to the BJP, Congress and regional parties. Regional parties like AIADMK, Trinamool Congress, BJD, JD(U), RJD, Samajwadi Party, Shiv Sena, BSP, AAP and others could play a decisive role and, along with the Congress, bargain hard for either post.
The BJP, for its part, would obviously like to have its own nominees in the two posts. Some time ago, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had suggested the name of L.K. Advani for President, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s name was also doing the rounds in BJP circles. The RSS has so far remained silent on the subject as there is no news about their choice of recommendation. Moreover, the Prime Minister and his right man Amit Shah, would obviously like to have a President he will be comfortable, but the nominee will also have to be acceptable to the BJP’s current and prospective allies.
All of sudden, after huge success in Uttar Pradesh accomplishment in other two States have changed the equations for Presidential electorate. BJP veteran is front runner and somewhere the over ambitious NCP leader Sharad Pawar seems to have realized that now presidentship has slipped from his fate. Sharad Pawar’s long awaited dream of becoming Prime Minister of India could never be achieved and fulfilled. He had to compromise on his desires, but this time it was really a shocker for him, because his party and he himself made lots of efforts to remain in the race for presidential post. Now, the scenario has changed and BJP would not pitch him as unopposed candidate. He was conferred Padma Vibhushan.
After UP government formation, angry Sharad Pawar held a meeting in Gujarat where he declared that his mission henceforth would be to unite non-BJP parties on national level as secularism is in danger because BJP has openly adopted Hindutva agenda of RSS with radical like Adityanath being entrusted responsibilities like that of Chief Minister. Sharad Pawar could guess on what lines BJP is travelling through. Unfortunately, there is no strong opposition to ruling party in present scenario. Uttar Pradesh could not become Bihar.
Sharad Pawar tried his level best to entertain and conciliate BJP and Modi. He held them high supporting backdoor in every elections since 2014. Later on realized that Modi just used him for the benefit of the party, and now his utility is limited. Modi used Pawar to collapse and deflate secular opposition parties and their unity. The over ambitious Pawar bowed down to Modi’s clang in the greed of becoming something. When Pawar got exposed, he switched sides. This is not the first time that Pawar is doing any such things. Earlier also, he rebelled against government on many issues.
General Elections in 2019 will have its own impact. Which party will gain power is unwanted debate for time being. However, in present scenario, one thing is for sure and that is BJP and Modi has made its impact and majority is with them. Moreover, there is no capable leadership in India who is of Modi’s competence. Being a presidential candidate is “No Joke”! First of all, you need to have a clean track record, while Pawar and his family members’ name is involved in lot of scams, corruptions and controversies. Secondly, one need to have a strong political backing from one of the biggest parties like INC or BJP which Pawar definitely lacks (he left UPA alliance and now tries to back NDA alliance even though NDA is less interested in it). In such circumstances, who becomes next president of India that time will decide. But whatsoever, Pawar will going to remain Powerless is for sure.
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