elections & factions
Who will be VP
the business of democracy
HE race to be the Vice President of India has already begun. Though it is a long way to go, but one cannot stop aspirants from trying for the prestigious post. The new incumbent is expected to take office in July-August 2012. It is learnt that a leading business house from Mumbai is reportedly planning ahead: If the present incumbent Hamid Ansari is not elevated as President of India, then it wants him to continue. But if he is elevated, the business house still appears to be wanting to have a Vice-President of its choosing? The reasons for this are not far to seek. This is because the Vice-President is the ex-officio Chairman of the upper house or the Rajya Sabha and plays a ‘vital role’ in our democracy.
At the forefront of the race is Najeeb Jung, a retired IAS officer of the 1973 batch from Madhya Pradesh cadre and Vice Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia University. He has recently been appointed as Director of the Reserve Bank of India, an appojntment which took the corporate world by surprise as he is not even slightly related with the world of finance and banking. Known to be very well networked in Delhi’s power circles, he served once as a private secretary to the late Madhavrao Scindia, when the latter was Railway Minister. When he was Joint Secretary, Exploration, in the Ministry of Petroleum, Jung apparently caught the eyes of a top business house from Mumbai. Subsequently, Jung served as Energy Advisor to this industrialist.
Another candidate who is emerging as a powerful contender is SY Qureishi, Chief Election Commissioner of India. He has an impeccable record as a seasoned bureaucrat and has a clean image. The problem with him is that he is not backed by any industrialist.
There are two other contenders – one a powerful woman and the other a prominent Cabinet Minister. If the current Vice-President is not elevated as President, the fight for Vice-President will become tougher. The onus lies on the Congress to think how one industrialist house can influence the choice for both prestigious posts. g