ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Who Is Afraid of Politics?

Come presidential elections and three issues keep cropping up. One, the president is anyway going to be a rubber stamp; two, in the event of no party getting a clear majority, the president will be loyal and partisan to those who elected him/her, and three the highest office in the country should be occupied by someone who is beyond “partisan” politics – a person of a non-political background. This third point is being forcefully made during the current presidential contest. The other two issues are perhaps subsumed under this one. A middle class constituency does exist that is easily attracted to all appeals to depoliticise governance. The media has very happily taken upon itself the responsibility of representing this anti-politics sentiment.

The argument is that the office of the president symbolises the nation state, involves delicate choices at the time of political crisis such as appointing a prime minister, requires moral authority, demands courage to refuse to accept the “wrong” advice of the council of ministers, and therefore, a suitably non-partisan person (or person “above politics”) should be chosen to become the president. The misconception that Abdul Kalam is a non-political person has further given strength to this argument. Sections of the media have in fact gone further to toss around the idea of a non-partisan executive.

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