Pranab won’t be a ‘rubber stamp’

Veteran leader Pranab Mukherjee, who got elected as the 13th President of India on Sunday, will not going to 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 Congress-backed nominee Neelam Sanjiva Reddy when the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had appealed 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 Emergency 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 the party line 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 became 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 trouble-shooter of the Congress-led front and had handled many responsibilities in the organisation. He had also played the crucial role when the Congress and the UPA was facing crisis-like situation by heading different committees.
He had to head one such committee to convince the Left members on nuclear deal with the United States of America.
Another committee on a Lokpal Bill with Team Anna. He had also chaired a committee on the issue of separate Telangana state.

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