Time to break the stereotypes
Why not have a young Vice-President!
VIEWPOINT BY ANIL ANAND
Politics of coalition is full of surprises which come in different forms. There is no comfort zone for the established political leaders particularly when it comes to finding a consensus candidate say for the Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections. But coalition era is certainly a delight for the dark-horses or what many will ultimately describe as the surprise candidates.
Apart from its uncertainties and potential to spring another surprise, the run up to the 2012 Presidential elections has already started witnessing certain interesting developments other than the talk of finding a common candidate by the mainline political parties and attempts by the regional satraps to queer the slogan of federalism as a route to send their nominee to the Raisina Hills.
A young Sachin Tendulkar entering the portals of the Upper House, as Rajya Sabha is often known and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah making a case for a younger Vice-President if not a young President. The two developments if viewed in the context of AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhiís possible ascendency to the Prime Ministerís chair in near future have a strong message in futuristic terms.
On a lighter vein, Omar already seems to have robbed his father and National Conference chief patron Dr Farooq Abdullah of an outside chance to be in the reckoning for the Vice-Presidentís post which the latter has been aspiring to be for the past sometime. This is another matter that some adventurous scribes have kept his name afloat to be the first citizen of the country.
By Omarís own admission, made in his Twit, even if we cannot have a young President, how about a youngish Vice-President as India is a young country, there is some significance behind his message. Some may call it a stray thought coming from someone who was, till the other day, the youngest Chief Minister in the country. But clubbed with Tendulkarís nomination, which has already created a hypothetical storm in the name of his young age and inexperience to handle the legislative work, the thought cannot escape attention and merits a serious thought.
Why not break the stereotypes? Is it necessary to have only the members of the geriatric club as constitutional heads at the national levels and the states? The experience is always golden but how would one explain this trend, have a look at the Raj Bhawans around the country and the national polity, in the face of a bubbling young nation which India is today. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari there is a wave of young talent. That perhaps was the ostensive reason for Omar to have favoured a young Vice-President even at the cost of antagonising his father.
The basis for Omarís premise lies in the latest population figures released recently by the Census Commissioner of India. According to these figures 50 per cent of Indiaís population is in the 0-25 age group. It crosses 65 per cent mark if you jack up the bracket to 35 years. The proportion will be amazingly favouring the younger age group if one takes into account the definition of youth leaders as described in the countryís polity.
As said earlier, the coalition politics has the potential to throw surprises. There is very little chance that a younger candidate will find his or her way to at least the Vice-Presidential lodge on Maulana Azad Road as desired by Omar. But then Tendulkarís emergence as a young Parliamentarian and equally young Omar tossing the idea, has added a fresh colour to the coalition eraís potential to pull out the proverbial hare from the hat.
Leaving it at that, let us have a look at the mathematical configuration of the widely scattered electorate for the Presidential elections which makes the task herculean for any combine, be it ruling or the otherwise, to get the candidate of their choice elected. The Congress has ownership over 31 per cent of the total votes in these polls. The BJP has 24 per cent, while the non-Congress, non-BJP parties account for 45 per cent of the electoral college.
Clearly, the regional players hold the key to the polls, unless the mainstream Congress and the BJP join hands to field common candidates. Even in that case they will not be able to ignore their allies such as Samajwadi Party, Trinmool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and the JD-U.
Well, a tough call. But who knows the Tendulkar phenomena propelled by our own Omar Abdullah travels to at least the Vice-Presidential election.
(The author is New Delhi Bureau Chief of Greater Kashmir. Feedback at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Sun, 29 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 29 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 30 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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