India will get a woman president for the first time in history
Pratibha Patil is slated to be the next President (12th) of India. Her name was announced by the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi today. Ofcourse she is still to win, as she will come up against Bhairon Singh Shekawat (ex-Chief Minister of Rajasthan), but considering that she has support from both the UPA government at the centre as well as the Left, the numbers show that she will win.
When she does, she will become India’s first woman President. Well, I am certainly glad about that…specially as she is not just the first woman governor of Rajasthan, but also the only woman Governor in the country today. She is also a lawyer.
The problem is: she is not a political heavyweight. Nor is she an intellectual. Nor is she a known social activist. Neither is she a significant person in another field (like President Kalam). Plus, she is seventy-two years old. I guess we should get used to old presidents and prime ministers by now!
But ofcourse she is a Gandhi family loyalist – the reason she was picked to be Governer…literally brought out of political oblivion. And ofcourse this is the reason she was picked to be President. Her loyalty for the Gandhis. From Jalgaon, Maharashtra, she is presently the Governer of Rajasthan. She was born and brought up in Maharashtra (but is apparently a Solanki from Gujarat) and married a Rajput (Shekhawat).
She has a good political record. She was a cabinet minister in Maharashtra and was also the ex-deputy chairperson of Rajya Sabha. She also headed the Maharashtra Congress. And she has some credentials as a social activist – she is interested in rural development and child and womens’ welfare. In fact she has a squeaky clean record in public service.
Some say she is strong, not weak and insignificant (as is the perception) because she did not let an anti-conversion bill tabled in the state legislature become law (the state is run by the opposition party, the BJP). Apparently she also supported Vasundhara Raje, the present Chief Minister of Rajasthan in the aftermath of the Gujjar riots. She could have easily played politics and fermented trouble as she belonged to the Congress. She is also said to be low-profile and rarely talks to the press.
One good thing about her (something that will suit the Congress) is that she is non-controversial and likely to be flexible. Will come in handy for the Congress when the country goes to the poll in less than two years to select the next government. Lets hope that the poor lady doesn’t make the office of the President a joke by becoming a puppet in the hands of Sonia Gandhi.
Well, she is a dark horse, and a surprise choice, and perhaps might have some pleasant surprises for us!
But no one is likely to forget that Pratibha Patil wasn’t the first choice of the UPA government. The Gandhi loyalist Shivraj Patil was Sonia Gandhi’s first choice but the Left as well as the NDA opposed his candidature.
Anyway, nice to have a woman in this post. 🙂
(Photo credits: Wiki)