It is true that the opposition in the country is currently in a very weak position and is also divided for different reasons. Although its strength in the presidential electorate, that is, both chambers of parliament and assemblies of a total of 30 states, including two union territories, is not much weaker than that of the ruling party, it is not in a position to choose the candidate of his election for the post of President He can win But despite this, if he had wanted to, he could have made a moral advantage over the ruling party by making someone of a clean image as his candidate for this maximum constitutional office. But he accepted his moral and ideological defeat against the ruling party by fielding a mediocre leader like Yashwant Sinha.
The governments of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Center, including Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and the northeastern states have done nothing in recent years to make it appear to be a supporter of the tribes and while protecting their fundamental rights, wants to increase their standard of living. Yes, on the contrary, all the works that can be done have been done. Despite this, the BJP has tried to hit many targets with an arrow making Draupadi Murmu its candidate for president as a tribal symbol.
Draupadi Murmu will be elected to the presidency. If BJP makes someone else his candidate, there is no problem in winning him. But running for Draupadi Murmu, on the one hand, he has tried to prove that he is the most benevolent of the tribes, while under this pretext he broke into the opposition camp and gained the support of some regional parties for Draupadi Murmu .
Apart from all this, the most important thing is that, in view of the Lok Sabha elections of 2024, a game has also been played in strengthening the political terrain in Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, because in these three states there are there are a large number of Santhal tribes. the caste resides and Draupadi Murmu also comes from this community.
On the other hand, the opposition parties did not think much about selecting their candidate unlike the BJP. After all, he only remembered the name of Gopal Krishna Gandhi, who was the opposition candidate in the election of the vice president last time. This time, when he refused, languid names like HD Deve Gowda, Sharad Pawar and Farooq Abdullah were considered, but when all three refused, at the suggestion of Mamta Banerjee, his party leader, Yashwant Sinha, was appointed. candidate.
Although Congress had indicated to present its candidate when there were talks between the opposition parties to choose the candidate, but then seeing the negative attitude of some parties, he backed down. The name of Yashwant Sinha was largely decided with the consent of Mamta Banerjee and Sharad Pawar. By the time Sinha’s name was decided, almost all opposition parties had agreed on Sinha’s name, but with the announcement of Draupadi Murmu’s candidacy for the BJP, he went there. to have a fracture in the unity of the opposition.
Parties like Biju Janata Dal and YSR Congress have been supporting the BJP from time to time, so there was no dilemma in front of them on the issue of supporting Draupadi Murmu. For Biju Janata Dal, it was also a matter of regional identity, as Draupadi Murmu is from Odisha and has also been a BJP minister in the government led by Biju Janata Dal. Supreme BSP Mayawati, who has formally made rhetoric against the BJP, was also quick to support Murmu’s name. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, who initially supported Yashwant Sinha, has also been forced to support a tribal candidate in the form of Draupadi Murmu because of the caste equation in his local politics. Although the Aam Aadmi party has not yet clarified its position on who it will support.
But the opposition parties that have continued to be the rage of Yashwant Sinha’s palanquin, one may ask the question that after all, what is the reason or basis for turning Yashwant Sinha into a presidential candidate? Has he acquired the eligibility to be the face of the opposition just because he has now left the BJP and made frequent statements against the BJP government? The parties that are in opposition today were in opposition almost 20 years ago and Yashwant Sinha was the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Congress, the left and parties of socialist origin must remember how they then filed the allegations against Yashwant Sinha. Was he acquitted of these charges after leaving the BJP?
Opposition parties allege that as soon as a defendant joins the BJP, he becomes a saint, so the accused becomes a saint even after leaving the BJP in the eyes of the opposition? Yashwant Sinha never opened his mouth about the riots in Gujarat when he was a center minister. Who can also forget that during 2012-13, Yashwant Sinha was one of the BJP leaders who campaigned to make Narendra Modi the prime ministerial candidate. The economic scams that occurred when he was finance minister are no less important issues either.
The ICU scam happened when Yashwant Sinha was the finance minister. It was a scam, in which a direct loss was made to the common man instead of the Treasury. A Joint Parliamentary Committee was formed to investigate that scam of about Rs 20 billion and that the Joint Parliamentary Committee in its draft report had put the responsibility for this scam on Yashwant Sinha. Many prominent leaders of the current opposition took part in the investigation of that Joint Parliamentary Committee. He was also accused of money back and forth from tax haven countries at the time. Needless to say, by turning Yashwant Sinha into his presidential candidate, the opposition has exposed his moral and ideological weakness.
It is true that in the presidential election the candidate of the ruling party has always won, but the opposition has never presented a candidate with whom many controversies and serious denunciations are attached. When elections were first held in 1952 for the presidency, then the opposition was very weak in terms of strength in Parliament and the Legislative Assemblies even today, but he was a member of the Constituent Assembly compared to Dr. Rajendra Prasad. , the famous economist of that time KT. Shah was nominated as his candidate.
In the second election for president in 1957 and the third in 1962, the opposition did not field any candidates against the ruling party’s candidates, Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Dr. Radhakrishnan, respectively. In the 1967 election for fourth president, the opposition turned former Supreme Court President Kota Subbarao into a candidate against Dr. Zakir Hussain of the ruling party.
The death of Zakir Hussain in the second year of his term led to the fifth presidential election in 1969, in which the official candidate for the ruling Congress was Neelam Sanjiva Reddy and then Vice President VV Giri was presented as an independent. In those elections, then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, while not supporting her party’s official candidate, indirectly supported VV Giri and called on all MPs to vote conscientiously. Several opposition parties also supported VV Giri.
The election of Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed as sixth president in 1974 was also a one-sided affair, but the opposition pitted him against a net parliamentarian Tridib Chowdhury, leader of the Revolutionary Socialist Party. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed also died during his tenure in 1977, so the new president had to be elected in 1977.
At the time of the seventh presidential election, there was a change of power in the center. The Janata Party formed by the merger of five parties was in power and Congress was in opposition. In this election, the Janata Party had made Neelam Sanjiva Reddy its candidate, who also had the support of Congress. They were the only elections in which the president was elected without opposition. Congress had returned to power in 1982 when the eighth president was elected. Giani Zail Singh was the candidate for Congress, while the opposition had appointed Judge HR Khanna, who resigned from the Supreme Court, as a candidate.
The opposition also filed former Supreme Court Judge and eminent jurist VR Krishna Iyer against R. Venkataraman of Congress for the ninth presidential election of 1987. In the 1992 election for the tenth president, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma was the ruling party’s candidate and the opposition had fielded Meghalaya deputy chief and Lok Sabha vice-president Professor GG Swale as a candidate against him. In the eleventh presidential election of 1997, KR Narayanan was the joint candidate of the ruling party and the opposition and was challenged as an independent against former Chief Electoral Commissioner TN Seshan, who had the support of Shiv Sena .
At the time of the twelfth presidential election in 2002, Congress was in opposition and the NDA government led by the BJP was in power. NDA had accepted all parties except the Left parties on behalf of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. The left-wing parties had nominated Captain Lakshmi Sehgal, Netaji Subhas assistant Chandra Bose, as the candidate.
When the election of the thirteenth president was held in 2007, Congress had returned to power with its allies. He had nominated Pratibha Patil as a candidate, against whom the opposition had nominated then-Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. Pranab Mukherjee was the ruling party’s candidate for the fourteenth presidential election of 2012 and the opposition presented former Lok Sabha President PA Sangma as a candidate against him. In 2017, the BJP had come to power at the time of the fifteenth president and had nominated Ram Nath Kovind, while former Lok Sabha president Meira Kumar was in the fight for the opposition side.
Thus, in all the elections held so far in the presidency, except the fourth and fifth elections, all the other elections remained unilateral. But in every election, the opposition has made candidates of clean image and tall stature, whether they were politicians or non-politicians. However, there must be some controversy or allegations associated with certain party candidates in government. But this time it is the first time the opposition has appointed a leader whose moral and ideological base is very weak and many allegations have been leveled at him.
(The author is a freelance journalist. Opinions are personal.)
See also: How are the presidential elections held in the country and what is the history of the elections?