Saturday, June 16, 2007

Paattiyamma for President!!

The race for the post of the President of India is certainly hotting up. Those of us who watched the news channels on Thursday night or read the newspapers yesterday would have been surprised to find a Pattiyamma (“Grandma”) staring back at us!! Yes, this Pattiyamma is the official candidate of the ruling coalition at the Centre – Smt. Pratibha Patil (Shekhawat)! The Shekhawat angle has apparently been introduced to please the Rajasthanis as the other likely candidate is the Vice president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat! Either way there would be a Shekhawat as President seems to be the idea. You can read the news about her nomination here and here. My first reaction on seeing her was that she would make a nice Paatti and certainly wouldn’t be my choice for President. Before all of you get your daggers out and call me an MCP, let me clarify that I have no issues with a woman becoming a President and on the contrary, I’d be the first person to welcome it. But when we get down to specifics, I can’t think of this lady except as a Paatti and certainly not as a President.

Infact, the ruling coalition seems to be banking heavily on the “first woman President” tag to see its nominee through. First woman President or not, the fact remains that many of the parties constituting the present ruling coalition have been the ones vehemently opposing the introduction of 33% reservation for women in Parliament and State legislatures. So, this is not going to change anything and it’s just yet another gimmick of our netas.

But honestly, how many of us have heard of this lady before this week?? I came to know that she was the Governor of Rajasthan only after she issued some statements couple of weeks back when there was a confrontation between the Rajasthan Government and the Gujjars. To her credit though is the fact that she has been with the Congress party throughout and hasn’t changed to the colours of any other party to suit her priorities. In this era of horse-trading and floor crossing, that is certainly a plus. But still, this doesn’t qualify her, in my opinion, to become President of India. Is it unreasonable to expect, that the President must be a person whom we have atleast heard a little about??

The comment left by one reader on NDTV that we would be having our first “rashtra-patni” sums it up quite well! I would say we would be having our first “rashtra-paatti” :-)