Electing a president for the world’s largest democracy seems to be getting more and more difficult. We have come a long way since the choice of a presidential candidate was reached through consensus among the largest political parties. The election of Ms. Patil seems to be getting dirtier and dirtier every day. Her candidature, which came as a surprise to most political parties, and the way the campaign for the presidential office has been conducted by the Congress and the Left parties tarnishes the image of the nation’s highest office. It is difficult to imagine Ms. Patil, with her typical politician’s zeal and blind and unfailing devotion to Ms. Sonia Gandhi occupy the same position that is currently occupied by someone as dignified and respectable as Dr. Kalam.
The excitement and euphoria of finally having a woman president disappears under the high drama of the elections themselves and I now find myself wondering if her election really means something for the women of India. I would say no. India’s First Citizen must be one to whom all his compatriots must look up. He/she should be able to inspire admiration, or at the very least, respect from the country’s major political parties. I do not see Ms. Patil acquiring that kind of universal acceptance anytime in the near future. I fear the President will become a mere puppet in the hands of Ms. Gandhi as she consolidates and perpetuates her hold over the Congress party and the Central Government. This time, I sincerely hope I am wrong. Only time will tell.