Though the term of President APJ Abdul Kalam will expire in July, lobbying is already on for the next incumbent. And no prizes for guessing what opinion Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi has on the subject of whether the missile man should get a second term. In the first place, Kalam was hurriedly installed in Rashtrapati Bhavan by the previous prime minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, to pre-empt the scientist’s departure for foreign shores. Then, the Congress was acutely embarrassed when President Kalam sent back the office-of-profit Bill, seeking clarifications. Worst of all was when Kalam doggedly refused to endorse the Congress move to impose President’s Rule in Uttar Pradesh, prompting Congressmen to remark that he was “a diploma-holder President” unfamiliar with Constitutional technicalities.
Finally, when a facilitator-turned-close-friend of the UP chief minister announced the support of the Samajwadi Party for Kalam’s second term, it snapped Sonia’s patience. She made up her mind to oppose it and Kalam, who easily read her mind, went on record to indicate he was uninterested in a second term.
Meanwhile, LK Advani, Leader of the Opposition, announced the BJP’s support for a second term for Kalam as soon as he emerged from a meeting with the President. However, this unilateral announcement was actually intended to nip in the bud the candidature of a close friend of Atal Behari Vajpayee.
Vol 1,Issue 1 | April 2007