Manmohan Singh as the next President of India?

There can’t be too much dispute that he is a good man— decent, softspoken, self-effacing and above board. But there can’t be too much dispute either that he is too much of a good man to handle the rough and tumble of our politics.

His own partymen have their loyalties elsewhere, he is constantly pushed to a corner by his allies, the Left is always questioning his economic policies, and the BJP is always targetting him, hoping he will just get frustrated and quit.

So, with a political deadlock around the corner on who should succeed A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as the next President of India, is Dr Manmohan Singh a good candidate to be kicked upstairs, to Rashtrapati Bhavan?

On his CNN-IBN programme, Devil’s Advocate, last night, Karan Thapar popped the question to the CPI’s A.B. Bardhan.

Karan Thapar: At that point, what’s the likelihood that Dr Manmohan Singh’s name may be put forward?

A B Bardhan: It makes me laugh. He is very well entrenched to the Prime Minister.

Karan Thapar: But, since you have so many objections to the policies he stands for, might not it be a good way of elevating him and bringing in another person? And doing it with dignity?

A B Bardhan: I don’t think that his name is being considered. After all he is there on a chair.

Karan Thapar: Were it to be considered, would the Left has reservations or would you see this as a rather clever and effective way of removing him from…

A B Bardhan: Why should we discuss his name at all when nobody has suggested it?

Karan Thapar: It was mentioned in the newspapers the other day.

A B Bardhan: So, now a days the newspapers decide our politics?

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With the BJP likely to oppose Somnath Chatterjee, with the Left opposed to Bhairon Singh Shekawat or a second term for Kalam, and with seemingly no one else with wide support and visibility on the horizon, is Manmohan Singh an interesting option to ponder?