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OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.
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Pressure seems to be mounting on President APJ Abdul Kalam to run for a second term, with sections of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) also joining the Third Front’ clamor for his continuation as the country’s head of state. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said that if political parties evolve a consensus on President APJ Abdul Kalam for a second term, his party would support him. The presidential nominee of the governing UPA Pratibha Patil is expected to file her nomination papers this week. On Tuesday, the Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed papers that confirms Patil’s nomination. Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Tuesday evening said the party would decide on June 25 on whom to support for the presidential elections, but ruled out supporting President APJ Abdul Kalam.

As the deadline for filing nominations nears, Offstumped takes a hard look at the role played by the Communists in influencing the UPA’s choice of candidate.

But first a note on a rather ridiculous letter written by veteran journo Harish Khare in the communist rag-tag Hindu addressed to Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat asking him to withdraw from the race.

Some of Khare’s ridiculous assertions

A ruling party or combine has a right to get its “man” elevated to the Rashtrapati Bhavan. This is not a perverse restatement of the “might is right” axiom, but the proposition is central to the very architecture of power envisaged in the Constitution.

Given the numbers in the Electoral College, it is obvious you cannot win without generating needless bitterness in the body politic.

Your presence in the contest will unleash an entirely unhelpful cold war between the ruling combine and the BJP-led opposition. You will become the cause for friction and antagonism

Cross voting is nothing but another unclean political act.

So if we were to go by Khare’s theory here, one must not contest a Presidential election if one has a real chance of winning and one does not belong to the ruling dispensation. Also if one were to go by Khare’s muddled thinking, there should be no need for secret ballot, for he wants everyone to vote on party lines. The fact that the Constitution provides for a contest not a coronation and a secret ballot and not a party whip is completely lost on Khare here. It is amazing how journalists like Khare have the arrogance to trash what the Constitution rightfully provides to suit their political preferences.

So much so for the likes of Khare ! The role played by the overt Communists is no less reprehensible. Here are some of their reasons for rejecting Karan Singh and Shivraj Patil:

CPI general secretary AB Bardhan was a guest at Idea Exchange, a weekly interaction with the editorial team of The Indian Express, on Friday

Bardhan said he himself told Karan Singh what his objections to his candidature were: One, he is the son of a Maharaja and two, he organized the Virat Hindu Sammelan.

the Left was of the opinion that Patil would not be able to withstand the pressure that comes with the highest office.

“When he was the Speaker, I don’t think he was very impartial. In fact, he thought by leaning on the side of the BJP and the Shiv Sena, he was making people know that he was not a Congressman. But the persons who objected were not Congressmen,”

The Left today has the gall to make a crime of organizing a Hindu Convention that it becomes a disqualification from running for President. It is unfathomable to what depths the Congress under Sonia Gandhi has sunk. The Congress is incapable of standing up to the Communists to defend the right of any individual organize a religious conference. By doing so the Congress has lend credence to the fiction that such individuals become communal and unfit to be President.

It is precisely this kind of dubious secularism that saw the downfall of Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress in the 80s, Sonia Gandhi seems hell bent on making the same mistakes, buckling to pressure from the Communists and handing them a veto power on a platter.

The spineless kow-towing of the Congress to pressure from the Communists reminds one of a time when a certain Patil, a congressman, gave the Communists sleepless nights.

No, Neither Shivraj nor Pratibha, Offstumped is referring to a long forgotten personality from Indian Politics, S.K. Patil, one time congress boss from Mumbai.

We circle back to 1955 Andhra Pradesh, Offstumped quotes from several media reports of that time:

the Communists had confidently expected to make Andhra their first political base in India. They talked extravagantly of turning Andhra into their “Yenan,” a citadel from which they could subvert the rest of India. They already had 46 seats, only seven fewer than the Congress Party, in the state assembly. Andhra is their kind of breeding ground: a place of extreme and uncaring wealth, and of miserable poverty. In Andhra, four in every ten people are tenant farmers and landless agricultural laborers, susceptible to Communist promises.

Last week the returns from the 8,000,000 voters were almost all in. The Communists had lost more than 80% of their strength in a sudden, numbing landslide. They managed to hold only ten of their former 41 seats against a towering new total of 120 seats for a democratic Congress Party coalition. Andhra’s Communist leader, Nagi Reddi, was beaten. India’s national Communist leader, Ajoy Ghosh, was reduced to humble mumbling about “my weaknesses and shortcomings.” The fundamental Communist strategy of conquering free India legally through the ballot box, into which six years of painstaking work had gone, lay defeated and discredited. “I do not understand how it happened,” muttered one Andhra Communist, a gaunt man with curly hair, whose job it had been to subvert the untouchables. “The stupid, dumb, illiterate masses have let us down. We should go underground and recommence our violent struggle.”

So how did this happen:

Two months ago, Jawaharlal Nehru, alerted to the menacing possibility of Andhra, flew down to campaign there for two days. His old crowd magic failed. On a wishy-washy neutralist platform (he admired “Communism,” but opposed its “methods”), he got nowhere. In desperation, the tough Congress Party politicos sent in one of the toughest of their lot, S. K. (“Eskay”) Patil, former mayor of Bombay.

What did he do.

While Nehru spoke softly abroad of Communists, Patil plastered Andhra with lurid pictures of Communist atrocities in Red China. He exploited the fall of Malenkov as proof of Communist failure and decay. “Five acres per peasant —we will give you land,” the Communists insistently proclaimed. “Give the Reds your vote,” Eskay Patil responded, “and you give away your freedom.”

The rest is of course history. S.K. Patil’s legendary run-ins with the Communists made more news over the years. In 1969 S.K. Patil declared that his professed aim was to  to “polarize” the catchall Congress Party.

“If fellow travelers and Communists are in the majority in the party, then the rest of us must walk out,” he says “If the democrats are in the majority, then the others must walk out or be kicked out.”

 So there you have it folks, The Patil who had the gall to stand up to the Communists and stick it to them. Contrast that with the spineless kow-towing of the Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh lead Congress to the Communists – what a sorry pass things have come to ?

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