Pranab won’t be a ‘rubber stamp’

Veteran leader, Pranab Mukherjee, who got elected as the 13th President of India on Sunday, will not be a “rubber-stamp” head of the state.

The word “rubber stamp” President was coined when V.V. Giri became the President (1969-74) defeating the Congress backed nominee Neelam Sanjiva Reddy when the then Prime Miniser Indira Gandhi had applead to the Congress MPs and legislators to vote as per their conscience. This had made V.V. Giri as a “loyalist” President.

Dr. Fakruddin Ali Ahmed was another “loyalist” who had signed the order declaring Emegecny in 1975.
Mr Mukherjee is not seen as a Congress nominee. This is because he got more votes than the Congress.

Moreover, even the Opposition parties like the JD(U), the Shiv Sena and the CPI (M) and Forward Bloc came out in his support. His appeal cutting across party lines will always remind him to strictly follow the rule book.

Besides, he is also a product of the coalition era. He got elected to the Lok Sabha when the Congress party for the first time agreed to lead a front at the Centre in 2004. This was his first direct election and he beacame the Leader of the House in the first time itself.

Mr Mukherjee will be the first political President after late Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma (1992-97) to occupy the highest office.

Till the other day, he was the chief trobule shooter of the Congress-led front and had handled many responsibilities in the organisation. He had also played the curcial role when the Congress and the UPA was facing crisis like situation by heading different committees.

He had to head one such committe to convince the Left members on nuclear deal with the US. He had also chaired a committee on the issue of seperate Telangana state. His predecessors — K.R. Narayanan and Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam had a brigh academic background.

Though Nayananan was elevated to the highest post from the vice-president of India, his legislative tenure was limited as compared with the past Presidents. On the other hand, Dr Kalam had no legislative experience at all.

Mr Mukherjee is the third Union minister to become the President after Gaini Zail Singh and Dr Fakruddin Ali Ahmed.

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