Civil Society response on Presidential Election
Bhubaneswar, 28th June 2017 (By Prasanta Kumar Bhuyan) : Let there be conscience vote in forthcoming Presidential election Indian Constitution says “India is a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic Republic”. Indian constitution is largest among all the constitution of the country. It is based on the constitutions of USA, UK and France. As per American constitution, the President reigns and rules, In UK , Monarch reigns and the Prime Minister rules. But, under India’s constitution, Prime Minister rules and President reigns and sometimes President also rules. President may not be the ‘rubber stamp’ of Prime Minister and his cabinet.President, as per our onstitution, is the Supreme Commander of the Army, Navy and Air Force. The role of the President of India is some times very important . Without his consent neither war can be fought nor war can be defended. But, as per Article 356 of India’s constitution, President’s voice is final and binding at the time of emergency.
Who can be the President of India?
a) He must be citizen of India
b) He must have completed the age of 35 years
c) He must be qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha.
It can be safety said that the post of President of India is completely apolitical and is above politics and he is the First Citizen of the country and his wife is the First Lady of the country. He is the custodian of the Constitution. Next Indian President (Rashtrapati) is going to be elected on 20th July 2017 What comprises of electoral college of the President? It includes all elected members of the Parliament (Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha) of India and State Legislative As-
semblies (Vidhan Sabha and Vidhar Parishad) In our opinion though the voters of the Presidential election are politicians the voting is apolitical.As per settled law of the land, following principles are applicable for the voters of such election.
a) No anti defection law (10th Schedule of the Constitution) is applicable to the voter.
b) A voter may or may not vote in the election. Voting is not mandatory on the part of the voter.
c) Whip by the political party is not at all applicable on its voters.
d) Electors are at liberty to vote in the Presidential election at their free will and choice.A voter for this purpose can exercise his free will and conscience at the time of voting. Political masters irrespective of their party affiliations can not compel the voters to voter for any of the candidate at the time of contest. In case of uncontested candidate voters have not role to play. In the forthcoming Presidential election there are two main contestants namely Mr. Ram Nath Kovind, fielded by NDA (Political Parties) and Meira Kumar the official candidate of UPA (Political Parties). In our opinion President must be very very learned, experienced and eminently qualified and strong persons required for our country. It is admitted that Sri Kovind was a worker of Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh. He was the Governor for two years and twice elected to Rajya Sabha by BJP. Besides he was an Advocate in High Court and Supreme Court. Meira Kumar, on the other hand, had a brilliant academic career and belonged to Indian Foreign Service and represented Indian in many overseas counties. She was born in Bihar, was selected four times to Lok Sabha and served as the Speaker of Lok Sabha for five years. Her role as the Speaker in the Lower House is note worthy. IN the past she was in Nationality Congress Party and now is in National Congress Party. She and her spouse are eminent Advocates in the Supreme Court. Voters need to consider and compare the past records of both the candidates and exercise option to whom to vote. RSS based in admittedly a communal party. RSS leader Nathuram Godse in the past killed Father of the nation, Mahata Gandhi and was hanged. Mr. Nitish Kumar, who was a Lohia Socialist first, is currently the chief Minister of Bihar. Mr. Naveen Patnaik,Chief Minister of Odisha and whose father fought for the freedom of the country, has decided to vote for Mr. Kovind. For such decision of Mr. Patnaik a revolt is brewing inside the BJD Party. Two MPs namely Mr. Tathagat Satpathy and Mr. Bhartuhari Mahatab have objected openly to Mr. Patnaik’s support for Mr. Kovind. A national daily (Times of India), in its 24.6.17 edition, has opined that “If BJP (Prime Minister and President) wins 2019 election, will there be a 2024 election? Don’t underestimate RSS opposition to the idea of India. RSS is resolute on its idea as a quintessentially Hindu country. It has toied hard for decades in pursuit of this vision. The Sangha Parivar has always had a core base of Support.””Post of President is above party Politics” says Mr. Kovind. But can a RSS man after being elected as President of country stick to this principle that “President is above party politics”.So, we appeal to al the voters of Presidential election to vote according to their conscience, freely and openly.It may be remembered once Mrs. Indira Gandhi, as a Prime Minister, fielded Mr.Neelam Sanjeva Reddy as the Party’s nominee for Presidential election but subsequently exercise her conscience vote in favour of an independent candidate Mr. V. V. Giri who was elected as the third President of the country.Both NDA and UPA have fielded their respective candidates on the basis that they belongs to Dalit castes to attract the Dalit voters. It is curious that caste and community have no role to play. Nevertheless this plea is irrelevant and unconstitutional. Accepting their plea to be true for the sake of argument, these to contestants are not at all Dalits which appears from their way of life, standard of living and the emoluments they are receiving from their earlier position (Governor and Speaker). They are much above the creamy layer. Both of them are millionaires as evident from their political, social and economic life. Between the to contestants one is secular and the other is in secular (communal).So, under the circumstance we request electors (including the Chief Ministers of Odisha and Bihar) of coming Presidential election to exercise their conscience vote keeping in view the greater interest of the country and its Constition. Ex-Minister Bhagbat Prasad Mohanty, Ex-M.L.A. & Freedom Fighther Bhabani Charan Pattnaik, RTI Activist Pradip Pradhan, Biswjit Mohanty, Pratap Sahu & Sachikanta Pradhan participant .