Saturday, June 30, 2007

The affair about the Presidential poll

The Congress may eventually have its candidate win the presidential poll, but they would have never thought that there will be this much amount of trouble over the election, that too, for a post mandated by the constitution to be mostly ceremonial. The only times when the President takes an independent decision 'without the advice of the council of ministers' is when he / she has to select a new Prime Minister. However, there are constraints even in this; the decision has to be based on the number of each party and its backers; and the Supreme Court is well on its way to curtail discretionary powers exercised in a unfair way.
For this post, the Congress played months of politics; first trying to get the Uttar Pradesh mandate delayed such that the election do not give powers to a party inmical to the Congress, then months of consulting its various supporters. The Left as usual gave the Congress a hard time, selecting the main trouble shooter for the Congress as worthy of support (which the Congress refused), refusing other candidates such as Karan Singh and Shivraj Patil (maybe we could have got a more effective Home Minister then), and Shinde was declared 'no' by Mayawati.
Finally, in a move of rank opportunism, the candidature of the Rajasthan Governor, Pratibha Patil was proposed (she was nowhere originally there in the race). The left could not object, and then the Congress started playing the advantages of having the first women candidate for the post of President. In their moment of triumph, the Congress would never have imagined the skeletons starting to fall out of her closet.
First, the widow of a Congress leader accused her of sheltering her brother, an accused in the case; then she was accused of defaulting on loans on a sugar mill; and then she opened her mouth and promptly offended more people by her comments on Purdah and Muslims (she made 2 statements directly contradicting each other, by which time the Congress told her not to open her mouth); too late, she next stated that she was told about a great chance this year by her Guru, who had dies ages ago and spoke to her out of another person (by which time the Left parties would be holding their head and wondering what to do); and now, a bank promoted by her had collapsed (accused of giving special loans to her relatives), the defense being that she was not involved with the bank since 1994 (proved to be a lie since she was given authority in 2002-2003 to select key people for the bank). Now the people who placed their hard earned money with the bank are wailing for their money:

Her UPA handlers may try to distance their Presidential nominee Pratibha Patil from the fraud in the bank she founded and its liquidation saying she didn’t sanction any loans when she was chairperson — but they should try telling that to angry and despairing depositors here.
An estimated 250 depositors, who had deposits of over Rs 1 lakh, now have little choice. They have got just the deposit insurance of Rs 1 lakh with no word on if and when they will get the balance. Most of them are uneducated — some don’t even know how much they are supposed to get — and their deposits were the savings they and their relatives had put away over several years.
As The Indian Express reported, an RBI inspection report alleged a slew of financial irregularities: loan waivers to her relatives and how six of the top ten defaulters were linked to Patil’s family. The RBI revoked the bank’s license in February 2003.

Reminds me of a small story. A financial analyst, when watching his recommended shares fall, wanted to seem strong, so he kept his recommendation live. In the process, he showed that he was stupid as well.
Seems like the Congress is like this. They want to show that they are strong, so they will stick with her as the candidate, and in the meantime, the new media, sensing blood, will open more stories about her till the time that she seems like a person who has sucked the life's savings of hundreds of people. But, the Congress will continue to support her.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 12:53 PM