Has Kalam played into the hands of politicians?

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam‘s “announcement” that he is willing to go for a second term “if there is certainty” can be viewed in two ways. One way is to see it, as he and his legions of admirers do, as a natural reaction of “People’s President” to the “overwhelming love from people from across the country.”

The other way is to see it, as his detractors are likely to do, as proof of the scientist being deluded by his popularity and allowing himself to be used as a pawn by politicians of the “Third Front”. Some are even likely to ask if Kalam’s proximity to the BJP-led NDA has not been exposed by his possible decision to align with that front.

Kalam has left his decision to contest the poll hanging for a few more days. But in not dismissing his interest in taking on Pratibha Patil, who will be at least a lakh votes ahead even if the “consensus” he is seeking develops, is the bachelor-Bharat Ratna tilting at the windmills of history?

With the Left parties opposed to a second term for an NDA candidate (because the NDA said no for a second term for K.R. Narayanan), does Kalam risk the danger of squandering his goodwill while appearing to stall the precedent of a woman occupying the helm?