A close look at Kalam’s innings

As the race for Raisina Hill is hotting up, it would be worthwhile to have a close look at President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s tenure in Rashtrapati Bhavan. This is also important because he told a delegation of the United National Progressive Alliance on Wednesday that he would be happy to contest the election if there was “certainty”.

When Dr Kalam was on an official tour to Moscow, he was woken up at midnight to sign and fax an order to dismiss the elected government and impose President’s rule in Bihar. What was the urgency before the Centre to obtain the President’s signature in a hurry? Sadly, he obliged the ruling Congress and signed the order without verifying the facts.The Supreme Court struck the Presidential proclamation as null and void and “unconstitutional”. Dr Kalam should have resigned after the ruling, owning moral responsibility for unconstitutionally dismissing the duly elected government.

Secondly, Dr Kalam also returned the Office of Profit Bill to the Cabinet for reconsideration. The Centre returned the same to him without any changes. Even though he signed it in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, nothing prevented him from resigning in protest against the Bill in question. No doubt, Dr Kalam is a great scientist, but upholding the dignity of the highest office of the country is not his cup of tea. I call upon the political parties to introspect before evolving consensus on Dr Kalam’s candidature for a second term.




The United National Progressive Alliance hopes to succeed in muddying the waters. The NDA lost no time to concede that Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat would be dumped if the UPA agreed for Dr Kalam as a consensus candidate.

The Opposition’s sole aim is to create fissures and shake the confidence of the ruling UPA. All the three contenders - Mrs Pratibha Patil, Mr Shekhawat and Dr Kalam - have individual merit and distinction for occupying the high office.

Last time, the nation rewarded Dr Kalam, the Missile Man, for his outstanding contribution and he should be satisfied with it. He should not get lured or dragged into any controversy now. As the numbers are in favour of Mrs Patil, Mr Shekhawat wants to avoid defeat. The NDA is keen to relish the tamasha.

Lt-Col BACHITTAR SINGH (retd), Chandigarh


The editorial “Race for the Raisina Hill” (June 19), rightly concluded that the Congress is interested in having its own person in the presidential chair so that he or she can help it out in case the 2009 Lok Sabha election ends in a fractured mandate.

Naturally, it does not like to make any concession on this count.

On the other hand, on the extreme end of the political spectrum, both the UNPA and the NDA are queering the pitch through various intrigues and gambits. However, they may not succeed in their mission for the simple reason that the majority is on the Congress side. Unfortunately, even the highest office of President is becoming controversial day by day in the run-up to the elections.

HEMA LANGERI, Hoshiarpur


The editorial, “Pratibha for President” (June 16) gives a balanced picture of the presidential elections. No doubt, the UPA and Left combine has treated the NDA as untouchable.

The Congress should have obtained the Opposition’s opinion about the possible aspirants, just as it did with its own allies, for consensus. That would have been graceful and respectful both for the Congress and the would be President.

Secondly, gender or being a woman candidate is of no merit or qualification for such an august office involving high responsibilities.

This is not a panchayat election where the slogan of women’s empowerment may have some meaning and relevance.

Undoubtedly, just as Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav was ruling Bihar through his wife, Rabri Devi, the Congress plans to run the affairs of Rashtrapati Bhavan through Mrs Pratibha Patil. That would be a very sad situation if she gets elected as President.



At last the UPA has selected Mrs Pratibha Patil as the “consensus” candidate for the post of President. It would have been better if Mrs Sonia Gandhi had taken the Opposition into confidence before selecting Mrs Patil.

Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat is the most suitable candidate for the highest post. As the Rajya Sabha Chairman, he showed remarkable patience, integrity and impartiality and he deserved to be India’s First Citizen. The UPA and the Left should have risen above party politics while selecting the candidate for the post.

AMAR JIT SINGH GORAYA,Glasgow, Scotland (UK)


It refers to filing of nomination papers by individuals for the post of President without having the required number of proposers and seconders from the electoral college consisting of members of Parliament and state legislatures.

Clearly, these persons have filed nominations only to see their names in print. The election procedure for posts of President and Vice President needs to be modified to discourage non-serious candidates. Nomination papers for the two highest posts of the nation should not be accepted if the candidates do not append complete documents including the required number of sponsorship letters from proposers and seconders and the security amount.



Politicians, spruce up your image

The editorial, “Bush to Mush: Get dressed for democracy” (June 15) was well written and very interesting. The fact that it is the image that ultimately impresses in addition to ability causes changes in male fashions.

The Parisian couturier Pierre Cardin has done for the mod male fashion what Pablo Picasso has done for modern art. Never before, male attire and looks have changed so much. The late American President Richard Nixon had once confessed to Bennet England, author of As Young As You Look — Male Grooming And Rejuvenation, that he lost an American Presidential election because of a badly chosen suit and poor make-up. While Clinton looks youthful in designer T-shirts, Latin American leaders continue to don flamboyant dresses.

Indira Gandhi used to showcase Indian silks n' brocade saris, fur and embroidered coats on her visits to Europe and speak in impeccable French too. Perhaps a department of personal grooming and diction is required for our politicians to spruce up their image.




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