TODAY -

President of India from Manipur, when?

Free Thinker *



Qualification to become the President of India is enshrined in the Constitution, elaborated in Representation of Peoples Act and prescribed in other relevant Rules.

Accordingly the requisite credentials are : -
one must be a citizen of this country perhaps with Aadhaar;
one must attain the age of 35 and no upper limit;
must be an unemployed under any government or government agency (i.e., holding no office of profit);
must be a sane person but who will certify and guarantee for 5 years ;
educational qualification silent, that means illiterate is definitely eligible;
no matrimonial status specified (widows/ widowers can still do);
gender freedom (any of the three);
religion not earmarked , so atheists and agnostics can also be in the fray .

This time as usual no one is likely to contest the Presidential election from Manipur. Even though we have a plethora of eligible candidates for this coveted post nobody seems interested. I really don't understand why we are shying away from mainstream politics. You have to spend only 15 thousand rupees (deposit which is to be confiscated later), no need to quote your PAN or Aadhaar for that money.

Though you require 50 proposers and another 50 seconders (all elected MPs or MLAs), that is not mandatory till the scrutiny stage. If you are really serious you can still manage fifty signatures from our MLAs and another fifty from the neighboring amicable states like Nagaland. One Prof from Meghalaya used to contest the Presidential election.

He could manage all the 100 signatures of proposers and seconders. Moreover he got a respectable number of votes. Hats off to that Prof. Winning is not the only purpose to contest the election. By contesting the election you are exercising your political or Constitutional right and asserting yourself to the people and to the cause of democracy. There was a man who contested every Presidential election in the country when he was kicking and alive.

His name was some 'Dharti'. This time fortunately we have a gentleman from South and he has filed his nomination. His objective is to create records for the Guinness book or Limca book or Cola book, etc. When my daughter was in class VI she went for a book released program at IIC. The book released was "We the Children of India" by Justice Leila Seth, who just passed away a few days ago. My daughter was so excited to get a copy of the book from the author herself with an autographical endorsement on it.

The book is about the preamble and basics of the Indian Constitution. She started reading the book with great enthusiasm. She read out, "In 1950, the Constitution was signed by our first President, Dr Rajendra Prasad, our first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and many others. Jawaharlal Nehru was the first person to sign, and he was so excited that he did so without leaving any space for the President's signature !

The President, however, managed to squeeze his signature above Pandit Nehru's." She suddenly stopped reading and started asking questions to me. Who is more powerful the President or the Prime Minister? In a spur of a moment I said, "both are equally powerful"; I wanted to avoid further queries from her as I had already started my beer session in front of misleading/twisting/dramatic TV news.

My wife who is a lawyer and also a student of political science was not happy with my reply and yelled, "Prime minister is the head of the government and President is the head of the State (Country)". Child's questioning continued, "why the President has to sign above the Prime Minister's signature?"

I said, "President is above the Prime Minister in terms of functioning and protocol". Then the most stunning response came from my little daughter, "I want to become the President". I had given a blunt reply, "you can't and you will never ". My wife again intervened, this time with anger saying that "any citizen of this country can become the President".

She scolded me for misleading the child. For a second I thought I was wrong but my thought was mistaken. In fact I was imparting the practical lessons to my daughter whereas my wife was teaching the theory part. In a democracy number matters and we are a microscopic minority and our political weightage in this vast country is miniscule and colossally negligible.

Forget about becoming President or Prime Minister or Vice-President or even Governor, we are still not suitable for a Union Cabinet minister in these 60 odd years . I am not talking about theoretical or Constitutional possibilities but hinting on real, practical and pragmatic politics.

One day my daughter will file her nomination for contesting the Presidential election. Today she can't because she has not attained the eligible age i.e., 35. My wife will not contest; she is not interested even though she is pretty sure that she can make it. And certainly I can't contest because of the sanity clause. I don't suffer from insanity rather I enjoy it every moment.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on June 26, 2017.


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