Kaun banega agla Rashtrapathi?
This is one question that is now on every Indian's mind.
On July 19, 2007, India will elect its 12th President, who will lead our country for the next five years. In a month from now, we will know who the First Citizen of India will be. But this is not as simple as it sounds to be.
Initially, a lot many names were doing the rounds as the possible presidential candidate like A B Vajpayee, Pranab Mukherjee, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Karan Singh, Shivraj Patil and N R Narayana Murty of Infosys. Even actor Amitabh Bachchan was once considered for the top post. However, everything has now boiled down to three names - Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Pratibha Patil and Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam.
Bhairon Singh Shekhawat is running the race for the Prez post as an Independent candidate with the NDA supporting him. However, NDA earlier had completely refused to name Shekhawat as President, at least certainly not as its candidate. But with NDA not naming anyone else (even Kalam who was BJP's choice last election) for the post and later on supporting him as an Independent, one in forced to think if all this was just a gimmick.
UPA naming Pratibha Patil for the President's post is just a strategy to fight against the big names supported by NDA. 2007 being the 60th year of Indian Independence, UPA thought of using the occasion to its best by naming a woman candidate. After all, it is also concerned about women empowerment!!
But the best strategy is that of the Third Front or the UNPA. It wants Kalam to continue as the President of India.
One of the many reasons for UNPA not supporting neither UPA nor NDA is that it wants to emerge as an alternative to both the political entities. Kalam being people's choice, UNPA is trying to earn support from other non-UPA, non-NDA regional parties by nominating him. And if Kalam wins a second term then his victory will help UNPA in the 2009 general elections.
However, UNPA posing Kalam's name has troubled NDA. Kalam was BJP's choice earlier. So, there are chances that the NDA's votes might get divided between Shekhawat and Kalam, which will of course benefit UNPA. And with Kalam being so very popular with the masses, if Congress does not support him, it will surely put the party in a fix in the eyes of the public. Also, the secular image of the Congress might also be affected.
It is hard to guess who will emerge victorious in the Presidential elections to be held on July 19, 2007. If Kalam wins, the UNPA wins. If Shekhawat wins, it makes no difference to either NDA or UPA since he is an Independent candidate. However, NDA might get an edge over the UPA. And if Pratibha Patil wins, it will mean nothing more than women empowerment. In any case, it will UNPA's day out.