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All On Board ? Not Quite !

By Pradyut Hande

With the Presidential and Vice Presidential elections looming on the horizon, the incumbent United Progressive Alliance (UPA - II) Government has had its work cut out to pick the right men for the "hot seats". After selecting Pranab Mukherjee as its Presidential candidate, speculation surrounding the future holder of the country's Vice Presidential post was rife. The UPA has now formally announced the name of Mohammad Hamid Ansari as its Vice Presidential candidate in the forthcoming elections. This paves the way for Ansari's second consecutive term in office.


 " The UPA-II Announces its Vice Presidential Candidate; the TMC Balks... "

Given the dynamics of coalition politics and collaborative governance, it is always an unenviable tight rope walk for the majority party; in this case, the Congress. On the one hand, it needs to embark on a progressive path to further the interests of the nation and its people; while on the other, it must strive to keep its allies (and dissidents) content. Fortunately, the Congress' decision to announce Ansari as its Vice Presidential candidate hasn't ruffled too many feathers. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP); two key incumbent allies; have backed the Congress' decision; just as they had expressed their support for Pranab Mukherjee as the Presidential candidate.

However, it is the Mamata Bannerjee led Trinamool Congress (TMC) that is yet to render its full support to Ansari. The disgruntled coalition constituent that is TMC, has for long now been at loggerheads with its other allies over multiple issues; the most recent being its unwillingness to accept Mukherjee as the UPA's Presidential candidate. While the Congress' other allies backed Ansari's candidature, the TMC proposed the names of Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Krishna Bose for the post instead. Under the present scenario it appears unlikely that the TMC will eventually come around and support Ansari. Given the fact that it has adopted a radically aggressive and an "internally dissident" like posture in the recent past with regards to its attitude towards the Congress within the UPA, the chances of accepting the Congress' latest decision appear slim at best. In the off chance that the TMC does buy into the proposal, it maybe perceived as a relative softening of its stance. Additionally, the fact that Ansari was originally backed by the Left in his first term as Vice President makes it even harder for the TMC to support him as it could be (mis)interpreted as siding with the Leftists. Meanwhile, the CPI(M) itself has stated that it would prefer a neutral (read non-Congress) candidate for the Vice President's post this time around.

Whatever be the case, this cliched game of musical chairs is yet another instance of negotiating the tumultuous undercurrents of coalition politics in the world's largest democracy. As things stand right now, Mohammad Hamid Ansari with a scandal free, untarnished and proven track record is all set to continue as the country's Vice President. The clarion call for proactive, progressive and pragmatic leadership has never been louder.

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Pradyut Hande
The Writer is presently pursuing his Bachelors in Business Administration at NMIMS, Mumbai. He attempts to address myriad issues of both domestic and global consequence, ranging from Business and Economics to Geopolitics...from Sports to Arts and Culture.


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