Evaluated in accordance with the prevailing value-scale of Indian politics in which the absence of negatives is seen as a positive, the choice of Ram Nath Kovind as the BJP/NDA’s Presidential nominee should cause no quarrel.
Yet evaluated in terms of being eminent enough to steer the nation through some choppy seas, his credentials could be deemed a trifle “wanting”, especially in comparison to the man he is slated to follow.
It is to be expected that members of the ModiShah fan club would use superlatives like “master stroke” and “Opposition-deflating”, but that would be doing great injustice to the Governor of Bihar who is unlikely to encounter many potholes on the trip from Patna’s Raj Bhawan to the coveted crest of Raisina Hill in New Delhi.
For the 71-year-old Dalit of farming stock, who has an impressive list of accomplishments to his name, has generally maintained a low-profile; and though he has opted to work for social upliftment rather than play a religious card, he is unlikely to relish the “qualities” being accorded to him by those who promoted his candidature.
It is a national shame that even in as elevated a matter as electing the President of India there should be emphasis on “identity” rather than track-record. And that yet again the decision should be deemed crafty rather than elevating. Still, Kovind is relatively controversy-free, and may even emerge as a “mutually-acceptable” (a far cry from “consensus”) candidate. He merits good wishes which this newspaper extends.
That the Opposition parties have, at least initially, expressed few reservations against Kovind’s personal performance is to be noted. Opposition unity has long been more mythical than factual, so the BJP has not scored a “maximum” on that front.
It has, however, virtually forced Kovind’s opponent to be selected from the Dalit community ~ perhaps part of a larger effort of redefining the BJP’s “upper-crust” image in a period when it has incurred Dalit displeasure.
There is something puerile to objections being raised to Kovind’s links with the RSS: with that organisation’s political wing having notched up such electoral success it was wishful thinking to expect a “nonNagpur” nominee. Would Yechury, Karat & Co. have ever backed a practitioner of “Thatcherite” economics?
The Congress has yet to state its position, it will be hard-pressed to find someone eminent who is willing for a “scrap”. Sure the BJP could have done better by Mr Kovind by averting speculation-ridden “foreplay”.
The argument that it did not “name names” earlier was to avoid the charge of trying to force someone down others’ throats is untenable ~ since when has the BJP under its present leadership displayed such sensitivity?
Yet to be fair, only in a rare circumstance has a President been elected unanimously. The ruling-entity’s choice has certainly been “clever” ~ Kovind will have to personally upgrade that to “sagacious”.