There were several persons with the necessary political and administrative experience for the job, including External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, scholar-statesman Karan Singh and Home Minister Shivraj Patil. Persons eminently qualified for the job were also available in parties supporting the ruling coalition like Mr Somnath Chatterjee, a distinguished parliamentarian and Speaker of the Lok Sabha... Mr Patil is capable of decisive action and there was much evidence of this when he was the Speaker of the Lok Sabha in the 1990s. For example, it was Mr Patil who took the decision to televise parliamentary proceedings. This is a significant milestone in the history of our Parliament. Another decision which had a major impact on the working of Parliament was the introduction of the committee system. This was the first big step towards parliamentary reform. The third important decision taken by Mr Patil as Speaker was aimed at improving the moral quotient of Parliament and sprucing up its image among the people. He drafted and circulated a Code of Conduct for MPs and got presiding officers in the country to endorse it - an initiative that eventually led to the adoption of a Code of Conduct by both Houses of Parliament and the establishment of Ethics Committees. Surely, this is not the stuff that "lightweights" are made of? Mr Karan Singh, on the other hand, is a scholar-statesman with a CV that would be the envy of anyone in public life, not just in India but in any part of the democratic world. His parliamentary experience spans four decades and he has been a Union Minister, India's ambassador to the United States, Governor, Chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, president of the Indian Council for Cultural Affairs, co-chairman of the Indo-French Forum and chairman of the Auroville Foundation. Above all, he is one of the most erudite persons in our public life and easily the tallest exponent of Hindu scriptural heritage. His understanding of the Vedas and the Upanishads, as exemplified in his Essays on Hinduism and other books puts him in the league of the philosopher-statesman S Radhakrishnan, who authored the most respected treatises on the Bhagavad Gita and the principal Upanishads and was our second President. But such is the reality of contemporary politics in India today that those who have never gone beyond Karl Marx sit in judgement over the candidacy of persons like Mr Karan Singh and publicly declare that they give him no marks! Having eliminated men with such credentials, the Communists turned their attention to the other gender. According to Mr Bardhan, his colleague, Mr D Raja, asked the Prime Minister if there were no women candidates and instantly, as if on cue, Mr Singh pulled the rabbit out of the hat. He proposed the name of Ms Pratibha Patil. Who prompted Mr Raja to give the cue to Mr Singh in regard to a woman candidate? Leaders of other political parties need to reflect on these events. Looking at the manner in which some of the better candidates were struck off the list, I wonder whether the Communists, who have nothing but contempt for our bourgeois democracy, have a hidden agenda - to wreck the system from within! dailypioneer.com/A Surya Prakash Lightweights at the high table Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.