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The entire drama about the Presidential election – Mamta, Mulayam, and Pranab Mukherjee




The last few days have been the most complicated in the political arena for some time. A day that was a shocker for the Congress turned into a shocker for Mamta Banerjee by the end of the next day, and the BJP was not involved in any of this drama, almost like an afterthought; and showed how the Congress party can wield power effortlessly when it has the upper hand.
For some time now, the Congress has 2 main candidates for the post of President; these being the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and the current Vice-President Hameed Ansari. However, it refused to declare a candidate, even though things seemed to favor Pranab Mukherjee for some time; Mulayam Singh Yadav had also indicated in the past that he would like a political man to be the President, seeming to rule out Ansari. Many of the other partners of the alliance such as Sharad Pawar and others did not also raise any issue about the candidate, claiming to support whoever the Congress nominated for the post.
Then started a couple of twists and turns, with Jayalalitha and Naveen Patnaik favoring the NCP leader and former Speaker, PA Sangma (who was also a former congressman). Even though his candidature was claimed to be that representing a tribal leader, it never caught on, since his own party (the NCP) wanted him to step down; the Congress was not interested, and the BJP seemed confused about what to do, so they stood on the sidelines and waited to take any further steps.
But the biggest drama was left to happen – the 2 main parties from whom the Congress needed support were the SP led by Mulayam and the Trinamool led by Mamta Banerjee. Both these leaders are difficult to read for the Congress; at least for Mulayam, there is the threat of the CBI case and the disproportionate assets case that the Congress holds over his head and makes him change his policies from time to time, but against Mamta, there is no such clear threat that they can use. It is difficult for the Congress to use the promise of a massive aid bill for Bengal, since there are other states that will demand such support, and will scream loud enough that the Congress would find a single state support very problematic.

Then they came out with their shocker – first Mamta Banerjee announced that the Congress candidates were Pranab Mukherjee and Ansari (announcing something that the Congress had not yet announced), then they stated that they were not in favor of these 2 candidates and that their candidates were from a list of 3 – Abdul Kalam, Somnath Chaterjee, and Manmohan Singh. Now, any of these 3 names were not acceptable to the Congress – Abdul Kalam was not acceptable because of his independent nature (and probably also because he once has rumored to turned down Sonia Gandhi’s quest to be PM, and also because he sent back the office of profit bill), Somnath Chaterjee would also be independent, and Manmohan Singh was the prime minister. Making him a candidate means that the party declares it no longer has faith in him and he is going to be kicked upstairs; further, getting a replacement is difficult and Rahul Gandhi with a plethora of election defeats is no longer the prince charming. However, the Congress cannot accept this rebellion by Mamta and Mulayam.
So, on the next day, whatever be the threats or persuasion by the Congress, Mulayam did the quickest turnaround in politics, refuting his statement made along with Mamta about not supporting the Congress candidate; even the whimsical Mamta was shocked at this quick turnaround and did not know how to react. Soon after, Kalam also withdrew his candidature, since it is pretty clear that he will not get the required votes for being a strong candidate. And in all this, the NDA and the BJP remain divided, since it is clear that they do not have the votes to defeat the UPA.




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