Why did Prime Minister Modi recommend only six candidates?
There were seven vacancies. Yet only six persons were nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
Why did it take more than 24 hours for the President Pranab Mukherjee to sign the notification?
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]I[/dropcap]f you have worked in any corporate organization, you will know that the big decisions to be made in a meeting are agreed in advance of the meeting by the major stakeholders. Similarly, till April 21st morning, apart from the selected six persons, the name of the media baron Rajat Sharma was also present in the Government’s list. The situation changed in the last minute when President Mukherjee conveyed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to accommodate the name of his five-decade-old friend and Anandabazar Patrika Group head Aveek Sarkar as the seventh person.
The game changed when Modi rejected Sarkar’s name outright. Going further, the Prime Minister played a master stroke by sending only six names for the President’s approval. This strategic action by putting the ball in the President’s court made it difficult for the President. It would not look nice for him to suo moto suggest the name of Aveek Sarkar – after some hours of messages flying back and forth, Mukherjee eventually signed the list of six on April 22 evening. The Government’s list consisted of Subramanian Swamy, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Swapan Dasgupta, Mary Kom, Narendra Jadhav and Suresh Gopi.
The government’s message was clear to the President. We can’t accommodate your persons in our quota, that too an anti-BJP baiter media owner Aveek Sarkar, who shuttles between Congress-Left and Trinamool Congress (TMC). Sarkar being based in West Bengal always shifted his allegiances with North Eastern politics and was never in the good books of BJP. The Government strategists say that the presence of journalist Swapan Dasgupta in the list also scuttled the chances of Aveek Sarkar, as both belong to the same fraternity and region – Bengal.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]ccording to highly placed sources, this was not the first time Modi objected to Mukherjee’s choice in the nominated MP quota. President’s Secretary Omita Paul was eyeing this position and few months ago Modi made it clear cut that he would not accede. Some of the Cabinet Minister’s also lobbied for Omita Paul and Modi did not change his mind. Omita Paul is a known career bureaucrat and was looking for this post which will last up to 2022, as she has to leave Government as the President’s tenure is going to end by June 2017.
Another person who lost out at the beginning itself was media baron, Subhash Chandra. As many as six Cabinet Ministers suggested his name but he lost to Rajat Sharma as the latter had many more Cabinet Ministers rooting for him. As Swapan Das Gupta enjoyed the support of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the race remained between Rajat Sharma and Subhash Chandra. But the President’s desire to bring his five-decade long friend collapsed Rajat Sharma’s chances for the seventh spot.
While Dalit considerations and a neutral image became helpful for Narendra Jadhav, being a woman and from the North East area made it easy for Mary Kom. BJP was doing firefighting in Punjab with polls due next year by keeping the disgruntled cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu happy. And Hindutva hardliner Subramanian Swamy was strongly recommended by the entire Sangh Parivar. In fact, Arun Jaitley was forced to bury the hatchet against Swamy and Sidhu. Will there be more humble pies to eat for the Finance Minister? Only time will tell.
Modi is expected to give the seventh seat to an Industrialist later. A few days back Ratan Tata’s name was suggested by heavyweight Cabinet Ministers. But Tata is learned to have expressed his inability to spend time for Parliamentary activities to the Prime Minister. At one point veteran screenwriter, Salim Khan’s name was also suggested by the Prime Minister. Though Anupam Kher’s name emerged, it was not picked up due to the simple reason that his wife Kirron Kher is currently a Member of Parliament (MP) in Lok Sabha.