The Day's Topic
PRESIDENT OF INDIA MUST KEEP HIMSELF MUCH ABOVE POLITICS
The national daily The Statesman has come out today, the 19th September, with a front-page story headlined "Pranab-Mamata meeting triggers poll tie-up speculation, WB Cong divided". In all probability the President's office is expected to outrightly deny today itself the report as false and speculative. Yet it is as much wrong to accept it as gospel of truth as it is to dismiss the story as without foundation or of no consequence.
It may be too much to expect that after his elevation to the constitutional office of the President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee has lost all interest in the political fortunes of his old party. He has his family interests too. It is worthwhile recalling that his son won by a slender margin the parliamentary seat vacated by Mr. Mukherjee on his election as President. Given the present sentiment for the Congress in the State and the country, it does not strengthen Mr. Mookerjee's wish that his son will have a smooth re-election in the 2014 election to Parliament.
The report also shows that President Pranab may have quit as a minister in the Congress-led UPA government of Dr. Manmohan Singh and severed his formal relations with the Party, but he seems not to have renounced his role as the sankatmochak (trouble-shooter) of the party. It may also not be too much to read between the lines because the President has a genuine interest in the fortunes of Congress for family reasons too.
But we and Mr. Mukherjee himself need not forget that he holds a constitutional office of the President of India who is much above the petty partisan party politics. He is the custodian of the Constitution. He cannot – and should not – look to be partisan, even if inadvertently and indirectly, by in indulging in politicking for or against. ***