LAL KRISHNA ADVANI, THE VETERAN BJP LEADER, was ridiculed in a post, perhaps by a Dynasty Devotee, that went around online recently,
It was a picture of him greeting Congress ‘Yuvaraj’ Rahul Gandhi with folded hands. In the imaginary conversation, he was telling Rahul that he would need Congress votes as the Presidential election was coming soon.
Then it occurred to me, “Why not Advani as President?” I have no idea if ‘Modi Bhaktas’ had considered him for the post as, out of disgust, I stopped reading newspapers and followed events only online.A refined, cultured Advani, a journalist by profession, used to write in excellent English against English in his column ‘The Moving Finger Writes’ in The Organiser, the pro-RSS weekly he edited. He was just saying ‘Namaste’ to Rahul Gandhi as a fellow Member of Parliament.
The photo was forwarded blindly by those who received it (post Forwarded As Received, Feb.24). The old-world courtesy and good manners, perhaps alien to the culture of ‘young’ Congressmen, were interpreted as kowtowing to Rahul for votes.
Congressmen would, of course, talk of Rahul with reverence bordering on sycophancy. A recent photo tweeted by the party showed him with the President was captioned (as if one was needed) said ‘SHRI Rahul Gandhi with Pranab Mukherjee, 1985′.
President Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmistha hit back at the Congress on March 14 for the tweet, saying, “At least have the courtesy to add ‘Shri’ before Pranab Mukherjee as he happens to be the current President of India.” Instead, Congress then deleted the tweet.
For Congressman Rahulji Gandhiji is not just Shri but the most revered, respected crown prince (Yuvraj) while Pranab Mukherjee is only ‘that chap’ who dared mention, when Indira Gandhi was assassinated, that he was the seniormost member of the Cabinet.
That was taken as a veiled claim for being made at least the interim Prime Minister, if not the PM, like Gulzarilal Nanda on the death of Prime MInister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Only old people may remember India had a PM by that name.
For that audacity Pranab had to quit Congress and start a regional party in West Bengal. tt failed and had to be merged with the Congress as he was not a mass leader. (He was mostly a Rajya Sabha MP. The joke, when I was covering pre-Emergency Parliament, was that India’s Finance Minister may not get elected as even a corporator in his own state.)
He was made the President of India by the Sonia-led Congress not out of any respect for his eminence; he was ‘kicked up’ instead of being kicking out, as Dynasty Devotees felt he may come in the way of Rahul Gandhi inheriting the throne automatically.
That the Congress has scant respect for the President’s post was reflected in the party opting for Pratibha Patil as President, rejecting a second term for the country’s most popular President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, who was willing for re-election only if it was unanimous. Mrs Patil’s only qualification was loyalty and abject obedience to the dynasty.
Thus the best ever President was replaced by the worst ever. That is politics, Indian style.