Presidential Poll: No Cakewalk for Draupadi Murmu

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Her sudden nomination for the august position shows the desperation of the ruling clique to have a friendly, if not pliable President.  

Abdul Qadir | Clarion India

CONTRARY to the manufactured perception, it is not going to be a cakewalk for Draupadi Murmu, the BJP’s Presidential candidate. Her sudden nomination for the august position shows the desperation of the ruling clique to have a friendly, if not pliable President. This is because in the next two years the BJP-led NDA government will need Presidential assent for the promulgation of its whimsical ordinances; the ordinances that will help the saffron fraternity tighten its grip on power while creating a business-friendly ecosystem conducive to crony capitalism.


More importantly, the President’s role will be crucial post-2024 elections as creating another Pulwama-type frenzy to milk votes appears to be extremely difficult. The state-wise analysis makes it clear that more than a miracle is required for the BJP to retain its seats in states like UP, Bihar, Bengal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Haryana. Karnataka and Maharashtra too do not show a silver lining in so far as the party’s electoral prospects are concerned. Gujarat has already reached to a level of saturation where the BJP can at best maintain a status quo in the Adani land.


As such the party is unlikely to substantially compensate for the likely losses in the cow belt, plus Bengal, elsewhere. Price rise and unemployment are the issues that may puncture many of the promises it might hold out at the time of the elections.


In case of the seat loss, Modi’s detractors within the BJP, including Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh, Shivraj Singh Chavan, and some others, may get an opportunity to voice their pent-up anger and as such a more than friendly President willing to compromise her position to the level of servility is a prerequisite to retain power.


In any case, women occupying constitutional positions in India with the possible exception of Indira Gandhi, Mamta Banerjee, and to some extent Vasundhara Raje Scindia, have been docile and lacking to some extent the spirit of political adventurism. This may have something to do with their social training to make sacrifices to prevent the breakup of families.


On the loyalty parameter too, women politicians fare much better as compared to their male counterparts, and as such the choice of Draupadi Murmu, from PM Modi’s perspective, appears to be a smart one. Murmu is unlikely to become another Zail Singh who started his Rashtrapati Bhawan stint with a self-acquired broom in hand and nearly sacked a prime minister who had won a previous election with a record number of about 400 seats in the Lok Sabha.


As of now, YSR, KCR, Arvind Kejriwal, and Nitish Kumar jointly hold the key to the Presidential election in 2022. Politics apart, the very real threat to the federal structure of the Indian polity may determine the behaviour of these leaders as they all suffer on account of the rustic bullying by the Centre. But this does not necessarily mean that these leaders would be putting the interests of their respective states over their personal gains or losses.


In the case of Nitish Kumar, there is no dearth of alibi to go for conscience voting as Yashwant Sinha hails from Bihar, and by all indications; the BJP did not deem it necessary to bring Nitish on board on Murmu’s name. Moreover, the tribal population in Bihar is politically insignificant and Nitish need not worry about that count.


We should also not forget the fact that there is secret voting in the Presidential elections and as such leaders like Ravishankar Prasad, Radha Mohan Singh, Prakash Javedkar, Harsh Vardhan, and many others are heading for political superannuation in the next election, if they so decide, may vote for their former colleague Yashwant Sinha. Being a shrewd manipulator, Vasundhara Raje Scindia may even encourage conscience voting without directly saying so.


All these factors together make the Presidential election much more interesting than many believe it to be.

_________________

Abdul Qadir is a senior journalist based in Gaya, Bihar. He writes on contemporary politics with an occasional pinch of pun and satire. The views expressed here are author’s personal

Draupadi Murmu, the BJP’s Presidential candidate.

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