E.R. RAMACHANDRAN in Vontikoppal accidentally receives a letter addressed to a resident of Raisina Hill in New Delhi.
Dear Madam Rashtrapatiji:
From one Maharashtrian to another on the eve of Gudi Padwa, ‘Til gud ghya, goad goad bola!’.
Whether you wanted to become the President of our country or not, it is a matter of great pride and satisfaction for all of us in Maharashtra that you now have the honouring of walking in the Rose Gardens.
As madam would no doubt have noticed, there is now a general clamour amongst Maharashtrians that one of their own should become the next Prime Minsiter.
There are a number of Maharashtrians who could have become Prime Ministers, most notably my friend–cum- enemy Balasaheb Thackeray. He was a better cartoonist than a politician and there are many who felt he would have converted India to a larger caricature of Maharashtra if the PM’s post had ever falen in his lap.
S.K. Patil, Vasanthdada Patil, Y.B. Chavan and Shankar Rao Chavan, who was a non-home minister during the Emergency days, were all titans and of Prime Minister mint material, but were all reduced to pigmies by the so-called goongi gudiya who later emerged as the Prime Minister, thanks to the initial support from her father.
Amongst the present leaders, Vilas Rao Deshmukh, R.R Patil and Narayan Rane, who are all my chelas, had a chance to become Prime Minister one day. Vilas Rao spoilt his chance for good due to his ‘Terror Tourism’ with Ramgopal Varma; R.R. Patil due to his statement, ‘Terrorists had 5,000 in mind and we managed to keep it to less than 200.’ As for Rane, even he is not sure what he is going to do next.
That leaves only me.
People from Baramati are also keen to have somebody from there as the country’s next Prime Minister. At the risk of being called immodest, I would like to say they are looking at me as their next Prime Minister.
I feel, the two of us from the same State can have a long partnership and can build a long innings for the progress of the country. If you remember, in an earlier era, another Indian from Sabarmathi led India from foreign domination to freedom.
Thanks to cricket and the Union agriculture Ministry, I have tried to serve the country to the best of my ability. People have accused me of being partial to cricket. I agree I am guilty of that; that is why cricket is doing better than agriculture.
If I am forced to become a Prime Minster, if I am really pushed in to that position, I will encourage all sports right through the year. I will make sure each of my cabinet ministers hold two key portfolios. Thus a finance minister can also be the President of all India football federation; home minster will look after hockey and so on.
This is the only way we can become world beaters in sports like, say, kabaddi if it is handled by the khadi board chairman.
As to why I am addressing this letter to you is, in the event of a tie in the election with no party gaining a majority, which is a probability, and a hotch-potch of parties making claims to from a government, which is an even bigger possibility, many names will be floated around for the post of the Prime Minister.Then the President takes the decision of inviting a leader of Third or Fourth Front to form the Government.
I request you to keep in the back of the mind the wishes of Maharashtra people to have a Maharashtrian at the helm of affairs of the country.
Yours most respectfully