Wanna be President of India? Your caste? Religion? Region?

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That’s all that seems to matter when it comes to zeroing in on the best candidate who can be elected to the post of the President of India. Not surprising given the fact that at election time, it is the candidate’s caste, community, religion and of course, spending power that matters when political parties decide who to give the ticket to.

What is distressing is that many of the candidates, most of them political names, have achievements to their credit but all that is spoken of is, their caste, religion and region.

Hamid Ansari : Muslim. Could be useful going into an election in Gujarat and general elections two years down the line

Parkash Singh Badal : Sikh. Could be the dark horse on behalf of NDA. If UPA has Manmohan, NDA has Badal. But can the two Singhs sing in the same tune?

Tarun Gogoi : North-east. No one from the region has ever been elected to the august office and the political class will think this will be one way of telling the north-east that hello, you are part of India.

Meira Kumar : Woman. Dalit. The Congress would hope it would help it electorally

P A Sangma : Christian. Tribal. North East

A K Antony : Christian

Sushil Kumar Shinde : Dalit

The only contender whose past performance and abilities are cited as good reason is Pranab Mukherjee.

In comparison, take a look at some of the non-political names being spoken of as worthy candidates for the post.

A P J Abdul Kalam : Former President, Scientist. Reputation of being able to inspire the gen-next

Gopalakrishna Gandhi : Scholar, former Governor of West Bengal, Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and C Rajagopalachari, Has served as Secretary to President of India.

E Sreedharan : Man behind Delhi Metro, Konkan Railway, Reputation of getting things done

N R Narayanamurthy : The Infosys man

Ratan Tata : Industrialist, visionary

I wonder if Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed would have signed on the dotted line imposing Emergency in 1975, in the way he did, if he were President of India today. This could be the first Presidential election where thanks to the combined power of mainstream and social media, the citizens can voice their opinion. I am sure no one wants another Pratibha Patil to be elevated to Rashtrapati Bhavan out of nowhere. It is time India gets the kind of President it deserves.

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