Picture this… If there is a coalition formed for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to fight the BJP, it would have to consist of the regional heavyweights that assembled to ostensibly congratulate the ex-President Pranab Mukherjee on his third book. In what could be a broad hint to the nation, the coalition (Mahagatbandhan) would easily accept someone of Pranab-da’s stature as their Prime Minister.
The 2014 Lok Sabha election saw a United States Presidential Style contest with Narendra Modi as the candidate of the BJP. The UPA could not counter this effectively and lost. Is this event a harbinger of things to come? Is the Opposition uniting behind Pranab-da, so he can be projected to go head-to-head against Modi? Same to same, change to change, as they say. Pranab to MMS, RaGa to SoGa. How would Modi fare in a head-to-head contest with Pranab Mukherjee? Twitterati, get your polls going!
Which other head of state got back into active politics?
The post of the President of India is a non-political one. Once someone retires from the highest Constitutional Office of the country, it is expected that this individual would truly retire, having ascended to the top post in the Government. But we have had some exceptions in the past. Let us rewind back to 1948 when Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) became India’s Governor General. Rajaji succeeded Lord Mountbatten as the Governor-General of India from June 1948 until 26 January 1950 and was not only the last Governor-General of India but the only Indian national ever to hold the office. Once India became a Sovereign Democratic Republic in 1950, it was expected that Rajaji would be its first President.
But fate had other things in mind. Congress elected Rajendra Prasad, a party man. Rajaji had quit Congress around 1943-44. After the sudden demise of Sardar Patel, Nehru turned to Rajaji to be the Home Minister of India. That was not all – Rajaji went back to the state of Madras (comprising modern-day Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and parts of Karnataka) to be its Chief Minister when Nehru felt that the Congress was becoming weak in that state. Rajaji received the Bharat Ratna award in 1954.
Will the wily Pranab-da re-enter politics or will the burning ambition of every regional satrap stymie this? Only time will tell.
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