The hunt for a successor to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has hit a dead end—and bounced back. On the one hand, the names of potential candidates (Somnath Chatterjee, Karan Singh, Amartya Sen) that were doing the rounds a few weeks ago have receded out of sight. And, on the other hand, a “campaign” of sorts to give Kalam a second term has picked up steam. Nearly 60 per cent of MPs and MLAs polled by NDTV are apparently in favour of Kalam again.
On his part, Kalam, who was saying he was looking forward to going back and teaching a few weeks ago, has developed slightly warm feelings of occupying Rashtrapati Bhavan for another six years. In Strasbourg, yesterday, Kalam said: “The nation is bigger than Presidents or presidential candidates. It would make no difference what profession I pursue in the future. The economic development of India has been, and still remains, the purpose of my life.”
So, is Kalam as President again a good idea? Is he really irreplaceable or are our politicians being clever and playing it extra safe? Is this nation of a billion people incapable of finding one man or one woman worthy enough of being the titular head of the republic? And, let’s ask it, is N.R. Narayana Murthy‘s dream of occuping the hut on top of Raisina Hill dashed for ever after the national anthem controversy?