Pratibha Patil, President of India

15 Jun

Pratibha Patil ShekhawatSay hello to President Aunty.

The Indian political class has made such an all out fetish of incompetence in governance for so long that it now finds itself in a position where they can’t even get together and choose a figurehead. Even when they’ve known for years that this day was coming.

To cut a long story short, while Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat struggled to convince his erstwhile party and current Opposition-in-chief, the BJP, that he deserved to go the whole hog and shift into the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the ruling coaltion dithered over who to choose.

To most of us, there was only one man who towered above all other candidates: President Kalam. However, this was one election reserved for politicians. And with all the shrewd competence we’ve come to expect from them, they were unable to hit upon a candidate, much less a consensus.

Anyhow, as you’ve probably heard by now, we now have a nominee from the government for the post of the First Citizen of the Republic of India – and it’s none other than that renowned statesperson Pratibha Patil! You know her, of course, from…er, um…


As I look at this little old lady, her pallu pulled discreetly over her head (bringing back disturbing images of India Indira Gandhi), it’s hard for me to see her as an actual person. The image of a political nonentity wished upon us for sins unknown pops a lot more readily into my mind. In this matter, as in life, there are no easy answers.

On the one hand:

  • She was a practicing lawyer before she joined politics
  • She’s been in politics about twice as long I’ve been alive, including 20 years as a Minister – believe me, that counts for a lot.
  • She was the first female Leader of the Opposition in Maharashtra
  • She was the first female Governor of Rajasthan
  • She was Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha
  • As Governor she essentially blocked Rajasthan’s “Freedom of Religion” Bill
  • First female Presidential candidate with a real chance

So clearly, this is no lightweight. Those are some impressive items to put on your resume. We also haven’t heard anything scandalous about her. Yet. Which might be because we haven’t heard at all about her. So on the other hand, there are the reasons why Sonia Gandhi proposed her name as a candidate:

  • Nehru-Gandhi family cultist
  • Left & DMK nixed all other Congress candidates
  • Gender
  • Member of the Congress Party
  • Maharashtrian married to a Rajasthani (a Shekhawat from the next village over from the Vice President’s)
  • Not Bhairon Singh Shekhawat

From The HinduOkay, so that last is applicable to all other candidates but that still leaves us with four other humongous reasons why her candidacy is so problematic.

Those who’ve been so kind as to visit this blog before already know exactly where I stand on women’s rights. But I’m not merely a woman – I’m also an Indian. And my brain isn’t so itty bitty that it’s likely to explode at the prospect of being both at the same time. So everytime I’m confronted by some Congress guy telling me how this is such a great step forward for all Indian women, I’m tempted to grind his funny little cap into the nearest puddle of mud, just for the heck of it.

This isn’t a blow for women’s rights, it’s an act of condescension. It’s the political equivalent of getting a pat on the head, a couple of sweeties to eat and then being told to run along and be good.

The point wasn’t to send a woman to Raisina Hill. The point was to elect the best person for the job – caste, religion and gender no bar. It’s not rocket science, we’ve been doing this for 60 years now. And there was no reason why this decision had to be made in 2 hours – you’ve had all the time in the world to think about this day.

Is Patil the right person for the job? I don’t know because everybody is so hung up on her gender that we’re lucky to have the barebones of her resume. How am I supposed to get all excited about a random saree wafting towards the Presidential Palace? What kind of a “message” is that?

She seems like a nice enough lady and in all probability, she’s going to become our next President – I don’t want to dismiss her without giving her a chance. But this constant carping on her gender puts my teeth on edge.

Tell me how she’s the best person for the job, tell me why she deserves this honor, tell me why I should be proud of her for things she did rather than something decided in her mother’s womb. Tell me why she represents me and my country. Don’t try to guilt me into accepting her as the face of my country.

I guess today’s a proud day for women if you tell me so, but personally, it feels like it’s a far prouder day for sycophants.

Update: Pratibha Patil becomes President of India


Posted by on June 15, 2007 in Life, News, Politics


55 responses to “Pratibha Patil, President of India

  1. Tony

    June 15, 2007 at 11:07 am

    Thats a pretty nice write up about Ms Pratibha Patil. This is great moments for India and especially women in India.

    Here is a brief biodata of Pratibha Patil –

  2. Amrita

    June 15, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Thanks Tony!

  3. amitscorpio

    June 15, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    Thanx for the brief on her, I was wondering if there existed anything about her except being close to Nehru-Gandhi family and being governor of Rajasthan.

    //. And with all the shrewd competence we’ve come to expect from them, they were unable to hit upon a candidate, much less a consensus.// Rightly said!! nothing more was expected from them actually!!

    All I can say is Sonia Gandhi is becoming a better politician. She has put up a female candidate for the post who is ready to do anything mam asks. Everybody is happy that there might be a female first citizen of India, thanx to Sonia mam. Nobody has got time to ask if she is the right candidate or not!! who cares …. what the president can do in India, except sending a bill of two back to the parliament.

  4. Amrita

    June 15, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    Hey Amit 🙂 you missed out the master stroke: by nominating Patil, she cut the VP’s legs out from under him, divided the NDA because the Shiv Sainiks can’t vote against the first marathi with a real chance of becoming prez, and camped out on the “moral” ground of hey, it’s a lady!
    Machiavelli + Chanakya = Sonia!

  5. amitscorpio

    June 15, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    hey thanx, i missed the marathi link altogether!!! and the icing of the cake would be that Bhairon Singh Shekhavat will not contest saying he won’t contest with the “Bahu” of his own community!!!

  6. Surya

    June 15, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    feisty post! I don’t know anything abt this dear old lady, so am just basing this comment on your post – and she seems to have more pros than cons (7 vs 6) – maybe all is not bad yet. And anyways, the other candidates are not that great either..

  7. Nikhil

    June 16, 2007 at 1:31 am

    Well, Kalam is honestly no worse an option: he’s been a rubber stamp during his tenure, and his PR people have done a great job – a hype which a majority has bought into. He’s all talk.

  8. Amrita

    June 16, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    Hey, more people – some of them very linkalicious: my favorite kind! 😀

    Amit – God, give these people their reality show already. Who wants to see those pathetic Big Loser type shows when you’ve got these morons practically begging for a show? Oh wait – they already have one: it’s called News on TV. Never mind 🙂

    Surya – not only do you make a good point (hmmm… sixes and sevens 😀 ) but you’re also right about the other blah contenders. that’s what;s making me so mad. We could have looked outside the box but noooooooo! ugh.

    Nikhil – I’m always confused by the rubber stamp comment. A president really doesn’t play a proactive role in India. I think the last guy to do that or try to do that was Rajendra Prasad and Nehru told him exactly where to get off after which I can’t think of a single President who tried to do anything more than smile pretty. In that context, I think Kalam is one of the best we’ve had because he tried to make the office count in other ways.

  9. Superunknown

    June 17, 2007 at 4:59 am

    Hi Amrita,

    Well written. But Ms Patil is not Maharashtrian, she is a Rajput married to a Devi Singh Shekhawat. That should not matter, but the way the Madam Gandhi has gone about posting her puppets on the top constitutional posts of the country is ridiculous and in a way reminds us of her mother in law, but lady Indira was ironic and this Gandhi is a nerd.

    We can have a women president, but choose a worthy candidate, the one who really deserves it. And now when NDA would oppose the candidature of Lady Patil, then the Congress would blow the trumpet of NDA being anti-women and all.

    Review my post on the same topic too at :

  10. Fleiger

    June 17, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Completely off-topic, but I have finished “Indian Authors Tag”. Do check it out at:

  11. Vinay

    June 18, 2007 at 4:57 am

    Dear Sister Amrita,

    India needs a mother now to understand the plight of her millions of hungry children. It’s easy to comment sitting in an ‘ivory tower’.

    Ms Patil is a mother and that’s enough.

    Vinay J
    Political Analyst

  12. George

    June 18, 2007 at 8:04 am

    To : Superunknown, She is not Rajput, she is a maharashtrian, born in Jalgaon and worked in Amravati as an MLA, she became governor of rajasthan later.

    She married to Shekhavat, it doesn’t mean that she is Rajput.

    To all: If you do not know her, then dont comment on her capability. By the way what wonders our bhairon singh Shekhavat has done in his entire lifetime? Atleast she opposed the anti-Conversion bill which needs guts to be done by a governor.

    There are many things about her which you guys dont know but still are commenting. The best one was that “she is not maharashtrina” comeon guys, if you dont know even this much then you better dont comment.

  13. Amrita

    June 18, 2007 at 11:31 am

    Superunknown – thanks, I’ll check it out. 🙂 As for her being Maharashtrian, yes she’s a Rajput but her family have been settled in Maharashtra for a while now. That’s why she’s commonly referred to as a Maharashtrian although yes, she’s not a Patil of the Shivraj kind.

    Fleiger – cool! about time 🙂

    Vinay – I’m glad you’re happy.

  14. amitscorpio

    June 18, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    @superunknown: left quite a heated message on your post!!!

    @Amrita: read more about this marathi or not debate on TOI

    I love the way Shiv Sena is digging the abyss and entering it. They entered the last elections with pucca marathi card and lost to Congress/NCP. Now they are giving more rigid definition of marathi and i’m sure its not gonna in favor of them in any way. Don’t know why they can’t understand that maharashtra was a marathi state, but now the non marathi community is no more a minority.
    and now that question arises if Shivaji was a marathi in sena’s definition, i wonder if they would go against him too!!!

  15. Amrita

    June 18, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks for the link Amit. I think they’ve forgotten that Bombay State included Gujarat and the Patil family migration can be seen within that context. The Sivaji thing is hilarious – but then remember, these are also folks who trashed cyber cafes coz they were offended by Orkut. 😀

  16. amitscorpio

    June 18, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    yeah that makes me think, the new attack will be on TOI’s office saying they called Shivaji non-maharashtrian!!! crazy people!!!

  17. Ankur

    June 19, 2007 at 5:44 am

    actually i loved her stance that indian woman should abandon veils/ghanghat/pardah etc.

  18. Shyam Sharma

    June 19, 2007 at 9:15 am


    Shrimati Indira Gandhi was the first Women Prime Minister of India, but she behaved like as if she was the Iron man of India. The victory in 1971 Pakistan war was a historic moment in her life. She had taken our country to a global level. She had also made a huge contribution in Nuclear Power, as a result of which we are also a Nuclear Power in the world.

    Shrimati Sonia Gandhi sacrificed the post of Prime Minister and set a huge example of her love towards our country. She also looks and behaves very similar to Indira Gandhi. When I see her on television I think that as if Shrimati Indira Gandhi is standing in front of me. She had made an historic decision by nominating Shrimati Pratibha Patil for the post of President of India. Although our country is Male Dominated she had set her mark by getting nominated for the post of President and this proves that Women in India are now a strong force to deal with.

    After Sixty years of Independence a Woman leader is going to become the President of our country which is a beginning of a Revolution. Since she had born in Maharashtra which is the birth place of Shivaji and she got married in Rajasthan which is the birth place of Maharanapratap. Therefore she possesses all the qualities of these leaders and she is taking their pride to Delhi.

    Shrimati Pratibha Patil had born on 19th December 1934 in Jalgaon. She is a Taurean and her Nakshatra is Rohini. From Moon to fifth house Mars is situated which shows that she is very intelligent. Since Ketu is situated in her third house she is very daring in taking decisions. This can be seen from the fact that after marriage she refused to keep the surname of her husband and kept her own surname ‘Patil’ which was a very big thing in that time. In today’s world women can inspire from Shrimati Pratibha Patil and make their own identity after marriage also.

    Saturn is situated in her tenth house which is providing her success in every walk of life. Coincidentally her Nineth and Tenth house lord is also Saturn. According to Parashar rule it is a very big Rajyog and hence she can definitely become the President of India.

    In the coming time it is very necessary for us to wake the Women Power in our country to save our country from Terrorism and other Illegal Activities.
    With God’s grace we have to get rid of all the Devil power which is stopping our country to become the most powerful nation of the world. During the Pakistan war Shrimati Indira Gandhi had made an historic moment. Since 1971 war nobody has created an impact like Indiraji as she had done in her time. Prime Minister like Atal Bihari Vajpayee was also not able to cross the border line of Pakistan at the time of Kargil War. As a result of which we had to face a very serious loss. If we would had Indira Gandhi at that time instead of Atal Bihari Vajpayee we would had cross their border and given them a beating of a life time.

    Lately, but Sonia Gandhi has awakened the Women Power in India. In the coming future 33% Women reservation bill have to be pass and this will happen in the present Loksabha till 2008. Our country is going through a revolution of Women Power and we will soon be observing an era which is totally Women Dominated. Now the time has come in which Women should be equally respected like Men, because according to my calculation Women are the future of our Country.

    Shrimati Sonia Gandhiji you should move forward towards development of our country because the whole nation is with you. Although you come from a Royal family you behave like a common woman. Looking at the stars of Pratibha Patil she is definitely going to become the President of our country Shrimati Sonia gandhiji has done a very good job by nominating her name for the post of President and it will be very beneficial for our country.

    – Pt. Shyam Sharma
    Cell: 9833847174

  19. amitscorpio

    June 19, 2007 at 9:22 am

    could someone get the gist of this comment?

  20. Ankur

    June 19, 2007 at 9:48 am

    the guy left his phone number… why don’t u give him a call and find out

  21. Amrita

    June 19, 2007 at 10:27 am

    Ankur – she has been described as a “quiet feminist”. I’d just like to see more stuff like that so I know who she is and what she believes in and so on.

    Shyam – have you considered blogging? It’s free, fast and all over the place. Btw I hate to tell you this but I don’t think Sonia Gandhi reads my blog 🙂

  22. Ankur

    June 20, 2007 at 12:37 am
    there is a nice indian express article criticizing her alleged feminism. and questioning her commitment for any just cause

  23. Amrita

    June 20, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks for the link Ankur 🙂

  24. Terri

    June 20, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    This “aunty” had a love marriage? Sigh!

  25. Amrita

    June 21, 2007 at 1:52 am

    Terri – Did she? I thought it was an arranged marriage coz they’re from the same caste and everything. And hey, people fell in love back in the old, old, olden days too 😀

  26. terri

    June 21, 2007 at 2:08 am

    I was going by the “Maharashtrian married to a Rajasthani” bit mentioned in your post. She reminds me a little of Lata Mangeshkar – making up in talent whatever she lacks in looks.

  27. Amrita

    June 21, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    oh that bit… yeah they’re part of the same community just spread out over two states i think. I don’t know anything more. aw, she was probly a fox when she was younger 😀

  28. badrirag

    June 22, 2007 at 1:00 pm


    nice and balanced article. There is no womenhood element although UPA might claim it because where did this feminine cause go 5 years back when Lakshmi Sahgal contested against Kalam?

    i have looked at some of the possible angles in my post

    A request! Would you consider changing the colour of the comment box to white from the existing black? IT is rather inconvenient.



  29. Amrita

    June 24, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    Thanks Badri! I’ll check it out 🙂
    As to the request: I would if I could but I’m CSS challenged and wordpress doesnt let me change stuff like that on a whim and a prayer so I’m afriad we’re both stuck with it. However, I have plans so stay tuned and all will be well 😀

  30. some body

    June 26, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    “How am I supposed to get all excited about a random saree wafting towards the Presidential Palace? ”

    you might not, but i know of one who will be excited (the key word is “saree”) – shashi taroor :-).

    – s.b.

  31. Amrita

    June 26, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    oh, hell, SB, I’d forgotten all about him 😀
    how come nobody mentioned his name for the post? I bet he makes a run at it sometime

  32. Anand Menon

    June 27, 2007 at 7:14 am

    There’s a comment on Amrita Rajan’s site where someone says”Thats a pretty nice write up about Ms Pratibha Patil. This is great moments for India and especially women in India.”

    Going by the dirt Indian Express has been digging up it appears that Ms Patil hasn’t been completely above board when she disbursed loans to her kin when she was a director of a bank..The paper reports..”Four years ago, when the Reserve Bank of India cancelled the licence of the bank that UPA Presidential nominee Pratibha Patil set up in the name of women empowerment, waiving loans for her relatives wasn’t the only irregularity it detected….” here’s the complete story…

    Patil was aware of her bank mess, top defaulters her kin

    All said and done we CANNOT have someone with less than a perfect record as OUR FIRST CITIZEN…and we just can’t have her simply because Ms Patil says she has a divine premonition about a larger responsibility……where was her divine premonition when her kin were about to default??

    Sorry….who ever you are who posted that commented on Ms Rajan’s site…if these are the women who are going to be our First Ladies then i fail to see how these are “great moments for women in India”

    There’s also a larger pattern emerging here…politicians on the boards of banks,kith and kin get unsecured loans,kith and kin default,bank faces closure and censure from RBI,Bank licence cancelled,kitha nd kin go scot free,directors melt into darkness.

    here’s another related story …with the same Congress Party at play here..

    Need experts, get political directors off my back: PSU bank chief goes public

  33. Amrita

    June 27, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Anand – Did you compare the comment to the actual post? Didn’t something strike you as a bit odd? There’s a context for everything.

  34. Anand Menon

    June 27, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    so enlighten me:)…yes i did copy paste it from desicritics…

    anyway you did mention”The point was to elect the best person for the job – caste, religion and gender no bar. “….if she’s indulging in nepotism by taking advantage og high office would you want her as the First Citizen?

  35. Amrita

    June 28, 2007 at 12:33 am

    you know, I don’t believe I will enlighten you. My post pretty much tells you my answer.

  36. rakesh

    July 2, 2007 at 9:58 am

    We all know that she sucks but no one has been able to debate against her successfully in the media(print or news tv channels), so what’s the use if we babble in cyberspace.

  37. Amrita

    July 2, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    well just because our politicians are useless and decided to spend all their time mudslinging rather than actually debating is no reason for us to keep quiet, is it? 🙂

  38. sujith

    July 19, 2007 at 8:08 pm



    MOBILE NO – 0097150- 4657372

  39. sujith

    July 19, 2007 at 8:09 pm



    MOBILE NO – 0097150- 4657372

  40. Rahul

    July 19, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    Pratibha is a wrong choice. India needs young people to come up for power.
    Both president & prime minister.Then only India will prosper.



  41. Hajira

    July 19, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    Our corrupt politicians need a corrupted lady as president.
    That’s why they don’t give second term for A.P.J Abdul Kalam.
    I believe in congress party’s Ideology and principles & a great fan of Sonia ji.
    But her decision to support Pratibha Patil,that i can’t just accept.
    Why she supports her? why can’t she support the great Kalam?

  42. Jeevan K Augustin

    July 20, 2007 at 9:56 am

    hello amit , thanks for this write-up. keep it up

  43. Amrita

    July 20, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    Sujith – well, I’m not sure about donkeys… i dont know if hooves can handle the rubber stamp… but a non political person would be a good idea.

    Rahul – how young is young? Coz I rather think the Presidency is sort of an emeritus post.

    Hajira – good question!

    Jeevan – hello, this is Amrita 🙂

  44. amitscorpio

    July 20, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    @Jeevan: You should thank Amrita as the author of this writeup is named Amrita, unless you were thanking for the link i gave … if that is the case then welcome 😀

  45. bhattathiri

    July 21, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    Prathibha’s Management has become a part and parcel of
    everyday life, be it at home, in the office or factory and in Government. In
    all organizations, where a group of human beings assemble for a common
    purpose irrespective of caste, creed, and religion, management principles
    come into play through the management of resources, finance and planning,
    priorities, policies and practice. Management is a systematic way of
    carrying out activities in any field of human effort. Management need to
    focus more on leadership skills, e.g., establishing vision and goals,
    communicating the vision and goals, and guiding others to accomplish them.
    It also assert that leadership must be more facilitative, participative and
    empowering in how visions and goals are established and carried out. Some
    people assert that this really isn’t a change in the management functions,
    rather it’s re-emphasizing certain aspects of management.

  46. Amrita

    July 22, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Amit – did I say thanks for linking? If not I’ll say it now 🙂

  47. Director, UDRI, Hydeabad.

    August 12, 2007 at 3:56 am

    Respected madam,
    At the very outset, I wish to congratulate you on your election to the Post of President Of India.In this connection, I am intending to submit my valuable comments as here under for your kind information.
    1) Your election for the post of POI, as the first woman candidate stands UNIQUE in the indian presidential election scanario.
    2) With your election as POI, it is indeed that the Rashtrapathi Bhavan would be added with a
    new dimention in the Indian history.
    3)Your earstwhile Practice as a lawer and experience as a public leader, would deffenetly take the post of POI to the newer scale in the annals of Indian history at the global level.
    4) Your address in the parlament, immediately after assuming the charge, was really a remarkable one which accounted for from the pre- independence era to that of the new age era.
    5) Your election as POI is sure to elevate the status of indian women folk in making their mindset to reach newer heights.
    Finally, I request you kindly to grant me with an appointment in Rashtra pathi Bhavan, New Delhi at the earliest so as to enable me in congratulting you in person.

    Cell: 09866191007
    Ph. 040-40119927.

  48. daddy

    August 12, 2007 at 9:52 am

    she does not deserve to be even a clerk

  49. $corpionz

    November 18, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    im really baffled that y d hell is mr. apj abdul kalam not elcted for a second term??????
    is it bcoz that he used his “own” brainbs in taking decisions and could not be controlled by the ruling party??
    all these politicians nowadayz r lik….wat 2 say!!!

    i sometimes feel dat we dont need a democracy like this!!!!!!!!!!

  50. 2eyes

    February 17, 2008 at 7:48 am

    goshhhh..the very idea of president of india itself turns my mood off…what does president of india stand for? a stone carved in the form of a old man till now…for a change this time the sculptor shud be a woman lover…so he carved it into a woman’s face…with a saree covering her head just to avoid sparrow shit on hair? what am i writin………fk…waste of time!

  51. A student at Large

    December 4, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    I just have to say that any president that is willing to not be used by the country and states that she doesn’t want to be a rubber stamp president is one I want. If you have any objections the go to this site. Cuz she will show you what’s what. 😉

  52. ravi nair

    December 5, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    The following link tells us all why we should have a PRESIDENTIAL form of government.

    Presidential System
    of Government for India
    by Dr. Subhash Kapila

    India stands out as a shining symbol of democracy amongst the nations that emerged as independent states after the demise of colonial rule post-World War II. India’s founding fathers, and I stress the plural, opted for the Westminster model of parliamentary democracy as practiced in Britain with some modifications. They did study the American and French presidential systems but opted for the Parliamentary system of government. If India has been a shining democracy, it is not because of any sterling contributions of its polity but despite them.

    Probably in their wisdom and taking a long view as was available at that particular time, India’s founding fathers perceived that the parliamentary system of government would be best suited to bridge the vast disparities of India and provide opportunities for a more integrated India to emerge. They also believed that the generations of political leaders that would follow them and occupy their hallowed seats in Parliament would be men and women of equal noble vision and equal noble purpose.

    India’s parliamentary democracy after more than half a century in existence today presents a sordid picture if the following features that have emerged are taken into account:


    Due to the compulsions of electoral arithmetic of a parliamentary system. India has become politically more divisive and fragmented.

    India’s political dynamics today are more driven by considerations of casteism, communalism and other sectarian factors.

    In India today no political party can claim to be a national party of stature. Their influence may be predominant in some regions and negligible or even non-existent elsewhere.

    India’s Congress Party claiming to be more than a century old has yet to nurture a leadership independent of the political dynasty that has held sway ever since independence. In election after election to ensure their success they look for their dynastic icon of the day to lead them.

    Election tickets for contesting elections are being given by all political parties to the progeny of existing political leaders, their wives, their kin or close aides down to personal assistants. Merit is not the consideration, nor a record of public service.

    The above has de-generated to the level of criminals, people charge-sheeted in courts and those having considerable muscle-power to contest elections on tickets of political parties whose sole consideration is how many seats can these notorious elements bring along.

    In the absence of clear mandates, India has entered the era of coalition politics where political defections are the order of the day and political loyalties are switched by the number of briefcase full of millions of rupees that can change hands.

    Crucial portfolios in the Central Cabinet have been given not on the basis of the professional competence of the Minister so appointed but by blackmail of withdrawing support to the coalition even though the Minister may be a tainted one.

    In such a milieu India’s foreign policies are getting communized and communalized and national security priorities are given a go-by.

    In the system of checks and balances that were inserted in the Constitution by the founding fathers in relation to the powers vested in the President and the Supreme Court we see now these being questioned by those who should be setting exemplary standards to uphold them. The first blow was struck by Indira Gandhi by bringing in the 42nd Amendment Constitution to make it obligatory for the President to act on the advice of the Prime Minister.

    The Parliamentary system of Government today in India stands deeply compromised and eroded from what was conceived by the founding fathers. They would squirm in their graves to see what hues the Parliament has acquired and the total compromise and distortion that has taken place of their Constitutional blueprint.

    Financially also the Parliamentary system is a heavy drain on the Indian exchequer in terms of Jumbo Cabinets and over 800 members of both Houses of Parliament all to be maintained at five star luxury levels and millions of rupees spent on their perks and privileges. The same gets applicable at the States level. To this needs to be added the stupendous cost of frequent elections necessitated by fall of governments due to political defections.

    The time has come for India to dispense with the Parliamentary system of Government as it has failed to prove its effectiveness and has outlived its utility. India must opt now for the Presidential system of Government in which the President is elected for a period of four years by a direct vote. He would be both the Head of State and the Head of the Government.

    The above pattern should apply at the States level also with the Governor being elected by a direct vote. Both at the Central level and the States levels the number of lawmakers should be restricted to a given number in double figures.

    Between the American and French systems of Presidential governance the American system is more preferable for India but with the important proviso that the President be elected by a direct vote of all citizens and not an electoral college. It would ensure that the person who emerges as Head of State and Head of Government of India would be the best bet that India has to offer. The qualifications for the Presidential candidate should incorporate excellence in intellectual attainments and personal integrity. It should have filters to keep out tainted and criminalized people. More importantly voting must be made compulsory for all citizens of India. This system would also facilitate millions of Indian expatriates to take part in determining India’s future.

    The main opposition to this proposal will come only from the established polity as they stand to lose the most as their “Political Raj” like the “Mughal Raj” would come to an end. The solution would be to have a National Referendum on this issue as it was “We the People…. “ who decided the Parliamentary Form and now by a National Referendum “We the People….” Can decide that the time has now come for a Presidential Form of Government for India.

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