If there is one thing that unites the hopelessly fractured opinion in India today, it is regarding the political acumen of President Pranab Mukherjee. His all-weather, utterly de-ideologised, 24×7 political antenna can pick up the slightest of political tremors. Especially when polls after polls (here and here) predict a severe earthquake at 9.3 on the Richter Scale matching Sumatra-Java Trench in 2004.
Mukherjee used three key political expressions in his address to the nation on the eve of the Republic Day, which reconfirm he hasn’t lost any of the political savviness after moving into the Rashtrapathi Bhavan – ‘anarchy’, ‘cancer’, and ‘stability’ — while surveying the train wreck that is national politics today.
‘Anarchy’ we all know by now is synonymous with the Aam Aadmi Party — Gali gali mein shor hai, Arvind Kejriwal anarchist hai. At any rate, Mukherjee was explicit: “The government is not a charity shop. Populist anarchy cannot be a substitute for governance. Elections don’t give any person the licence to flirt with illusions. Those who seek the trust of the voters must promise only what is possible.”
Mukherjee’s second reference was to the famous national issue of ‘corruption’, which also needs no annotation. Suffice to say, it is a smart kick at the backside of the UPA government when Mukherjee said corruption has “enraged” the Indians. The only intriguing part, of course, is that Mukherjee himself served the current set-up diligently all through the Age of Scams.
But the stunning part was the third expression used by Mukherjee — ‘stability’. He literally plucked the term from Narendra Modi’s campaign platform. Mukherjee said expansively, “It is the physician that heals itself and 2014 must become a year of healing after the fractured and contentious politics of the last few years.” He then went on to appeal to the people to avoid a hung parliament.
Which means we somehow end once and for all the present coalition era in Indian politics. Can’t the people of India rise to the occasion in the 10-12 week period ahead to top up the BJP’s tally, which current polls predict at 200-210 already by another 60 seats?
This must surely stand out as one of the most politically significant speeches made by an incumbent president. Not even Zail Singh could measure up, although an ex-Congress politician like Mukherjee. Try to be a fly on the wall when Mukherjee receives Modi in Rashtrapathi Bhavan to ask him to form India’s next government.
Posted in Politics.
– January 26, 2014