Saturday, June 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



President can play a crucial role in our system

In his article “Kaun banega Rashtrapati: why not someone with outstanding record?” (June 7), Mr Hari Jaisingh has raised the issue of the Indian President who, in the present-day political scenario, can play a balancing, decisive and crucial role in the smooth functioning of parliamentary democracy. Tracing back the history of presidency is a very interesting exercise in itself as it reveals many fascinating facts about this office.

We had strong prime ministers like Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi who had landslide majority behind them; they never relished the idea of strong presidents. That is why they did not appoint to this exalted office persons with high political ambitions, lest they emerge as parallel centres of power.

Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President, was a low profile person but once he said that "there is no provision in the Constitution which lays down that the President shall always be bound to act in accordance with the advice of council of ministers and the present constitutional provision (Art 74) needs interpretation". Though this statement caused a stir among the political and intellectual circles, he did not make it an issue. As a true Gandhian, he continued to function as before.

Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishanan and Dr Zakir Hussain were essentially educationists and not politicians. So they did not make any attempt to interpret constitutional powers differently.


Indira Gandhi, at the outset, appeared simple and weak but soon she proved very bold and shrewd. Though Sanjeeva Reddy was the Congress' official candidate for presidency, she got V. V. Giri elected and that is why he always accepted the Cabinet advice without demur. In fact, he earned the reputation of being Indira Gandhi's rubber stamp.

Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed was Indira Gandhi’s confidant and a family friend, apart from being docile and meek. How Giani Zail Singh lowered this office is well-known to all. His comment that “he had no shame even in brooming the floor if Indira Gandhi wanted him to do so” made him a laughing stock.

Times have changed now and we don't want the occupant of Rashtrapati Bhavan to compromise the dignity of the office and conscience as a matter of political convenience. Some presidents like Dr Rajendra Prasad, Dr Radhakrishnan, R. Venkatraman and Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma lent grace to this office. Even the present president, Mr K.R. Narayanan always kept away from controversies. Let the new person hold lofty values in high esteem.

K.L. BATRA, Yamunanagar

THE RIGHT QUESTION: Mr Hari Jaisingh has rightly posed the question, why not someone with an outstanding track record? If we want to see India as a strong nation, the time has come to say goodbye to old perverted practices. We should start thinking beyond party considerations. In the changing global scenario, India needs a distinguished President having scientific temper, broad thinking, dedication towards the nation and, above all, one who can lead the nation from the front in becoming self-reliant in science and technology.

All these qualities are inherent in Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. He has also been honoured with Bharat Ratna, our country’s highest civilian honour, for his enormous contribution in science and technology. Indeed, this true son of India deserves to be elected as the eleventh President of India.

RAJESH SHARMA, Jalandhar Cantt

PRAYER TO GOD: Hats off to Mr Hari Jaisingh for his piece "Kaun banega Rashtrapati". My prayer to the Almighty is:

Us ki Kalam ko ya rab de aur vusetain

Jo baichta hai aainain andhon ke shehar main.

(Oh lord, give more strength to the pen of that person who sells mirrors in the city of the blind)

I.P. ANAND, Yamunanagar

Kudos to PM for selecting Kalam

Today, when India is standing at the threshold of destiny amid so much global attention, I as a citizen of this great nation, would like to thank Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee through The Tribune. Hats off to him for the vision he has shown in resolving the present conflict between India and Pakistan. Though the crisis is still not fully over, the whole world now perceives India’s position from a totally new angle.

We all know war is not the solution of the Kashmir issue. The best way to effectively counter Pakistan is via strong diplomatic offensive.

Thank you Mr PM for another marvellous achievement — nominating Professor A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as India’s new President. Never in the history of this nation has such a bold step been taken by any government.

Yes Mr PM, may I ask for a little favour from you. Please return us the same lively, smiling face of yours which you seem to have lost somewhere after becoming the Prime Minister. We all know that India is a big nation with all kind of complexities in every sector and you have a tough job at hand, but believe me your smiling face is our hope and inspiration.


Full of contradictions

This has reference to Poonam I. Kaushik’s article “Sonia is Congress, Congress is Sonia” (June 4). The article seems to be full of contradictions and malice. I think when an article appears on the Edit Page, it has some meaning.

A person’s likes and dislikes are welcome but when it comes to subjects of national interest, personal preferences and hatred should be kept apart. Since the media plays the most important role in setting the tone of the events to come and thus the destiny of the nation, it should play a fair and constructive role.

The heading of the article itself seems to be so malicious that a question mark is put on the leadership of the party. The writer has blown the issue of sycophancy and bossism in the Congress out of proportion. Can she honestly pinpoint one political party which is not afflicted with this malady?

Bossocracy is a better term for democracy. But to single out one leader and malign her name for a general defect is undesirable.

On the one hand, the writer points out that by bringing such people forward like Mr Digvijay Singh in Madhya Pradesh, Mr S.M.Krishna in Karnataka, Mr Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan, Mr Ajit Jogi in Chhattisgarh and Captain Amarinder Singh in Punjab, Mrs Soinia Gandhi has compelled the leaders on the opposite side, even NDA ministers, to compliment the good working of these leaders. While selecting leaders she has given weightage to intelligence, knowledge, communication skills, leadership qualities, honesty and integrity.

In the same breath, she has criticised her by explaining that Sonia has handpicked these and is surely building up her own team, loyal to her alone. This a strange explanation and one fails to understand what the writer wants to convey. Does she want to say that Sonia is committing a crime if she tries to enthuse such qualities in leaders?

Take the other example the writer has used to blame Sonia. Transparency and accountability are high on her agenda as is indiscipline. She has sarcastically tried to denegrate her effort for these virtues which have become a dream of the past.

She says that as the experience of Sharad Pawar and P.A. Sangma shows, the Congress is run more on dictatorial lines. Right from the district committees to the Congress Working Committee (CWC), “Madam” decides everything.

This is the height of malice that you are trying to find fault with if a person tries to bring these virtues back to the political system.

As far as Sharad Pawar & Co. are concerned, they are the people who compelled Sonia to return to active politics when she was leading her personal life quitely after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. When cynics in the media were preparing obituaries for the Congress, these were the very same people who begged her to come to politics.

When the Congress became a force to reckon with, these people wanted to hijack the leadership to fulfill their aspirations. And when they were not allowed to succeed in their designs, they stabbed the Congress in the back at a very crucial time.

To condemn a political party or its leadership for political motives is one thing. But to criticise it for reinventing and propagating these rare values in present times is quite different and absolutely undesirable.

Dr. TIRATH GARG, Ferozepur CityTop

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |