As the Indian democracy passes through the darkest chapter in history, flickering glimpses of amity and sensibility are being witnessed offering hope.
The obstinacy that a representative backed by the communal forces should not be chosen for presidency of a diverse country like India, has become stronger among the secular parties. The government in power will recommend somebody acceptable to the corporate organizations and the Fascist ideology that has been maneuvering the Centre. The names heard in the initial phase are those that dishearten every Indian who desire peace. Even though the BJP has the majority of assembly members in the Parliament, other parties could stop the person pushed by the BJP from making his way to the Raisina Hill even now, if they put in all the effort. The list of names agreed on by the opposition parties is also being prepared. The presidential election in the country has had a history of bypassing much suitable opposition candidates such as Professor K T Shah, who proposed for the inclusion of the words ‘secular, federal, socialist’ nation in the Constitution, Judges H R Khanna and V R Krishna Iyer who stood for the fundamental rights of the people and Captain Lakshmi Sehgal, the heroic face of the Indian independence struggle. There have been extremely dramatic and unbelievable alliances in many of the previous elections. However, several prominent leaders are calling for the move to choose a general candidate for presidency this time by ignoring the shortcomings and brushing aside the differences. If this kind of unity becomes successful, the opposition parties will have the confidence to brave not only the presidential election, but the general election as well that will be held after two years. The citizens of the nation too will have relief that the proclaimed communal terrorism have for at least momentarily debilitated.
It’s amidst this sense of unison, that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi extended his party’s support to Sitaram Yechury, the general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and ensured his re-election to the Rajya Sabha from the sure seat in Bengal. The realization might have dawned on him when several leaders responsible for present decline of the party ended up in the opposition camp and many still, packing their bags to leave the party. Or it might be received from any advisors who sincerely aspire the stabilization and survival of the Congress party. The move could erase at least half of the criticisms against Rahul of lacking political maturity. It’s the organized resistance put up by the opposition in the upper house that many a times defuse the aggressiveness of the BJP coalition in the Lok Sabha particularly due to their gigantic win. It’s also due to the conviction about the significant role played by Yechury towards this goal, that the Congress put forth such a promise. It could be seen as a much delayed compensation for the atrocities carried out against the CPM by the Congress and the police force, the reins of both pulled by Siddhartha Shankar Ray during the authoritarian tenure of Indira Gandhi. But while the Bengal faction that faced the assembly poll along with the Congress, welcomes this proposal, another major section of the party is set to oppose the move citing the fear of ruining the precedence and claiming it as unnecessary. The leaders from Kerala object the most. If Yechury’s victory is ensured with the support of Congress, having have to answer the factions as well as the opponents on the matter is what bothers them.
But India’s democratic crisis isn’t something that ends in channel debates and public speeches. If the support promised to Yechury is withdrawn, it would be an exact repetition of the ‘historic blunder’ that occurred when the CPM decided against the veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu taking up the post of the Prime Minister in 1996. It would also undermine the unification efforts aimed ahead of the presidential election. If the ideologists of hate and riots make their way to presidency, it will be a failure of secular Indian republic. And those responsible would be dubbed culprits in history.