oppn parties What Is Pranab Mukherjee Up To?

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oppn parties
What Is Pranab Mukherjee Up To?

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Is former president Pranab Mukherjee taking a lead role in bringing together non-Congress, non-BJP (including disgruntled Congress and BJP) opposition leaders to form a Third Front? Ever since Mukherjee accepted an invite to address RSS cadres, this news is being given prominence, although one cannot see the connection between the two. If Mukherjee is indeed the leading player in the shaping of the Third Front, why would the RSS invite him and more importantly, why would he accept? But NDTV.com has carried an article that says that Navin Patnaik is pushing Mukherjee into the role and quotes sources to say that whatever Mamata Banerjee is doing is at Mukherjee’s bidding.

There is no doubt that Pranab Mukherjee would have been the best Prime Minister India never had. Given his rich experience in politicking under the redoubtable Indira Gandhi and handling various ministries, Mukherjee was ideally suited to occupy the top post in 2004. But since the royal family that controls the Congress has always been suspicious of him, they chose Manmohan Singh and elevated Mukherjee as the President. Ostensibly, it raised his status. But a dyed-in-the-wool politician like Mukherjee can never be satisfied with a ceremonial post. Hence, the rumours about him trying to make a comeback through the Third Front are not entirely unbelievable.

If Mukherjee is acting as the glue to which opposition leaders from regional parties will stick, it will also solve one big problem the Third Front faces – that of agreeing upon a leader to be the prime minister in the event it wins majority. Mukherjee’s status in Indian politics is unmatched. Although he is not as expert an orator as Narendra Modi, what he lacks in rhetoric he can easily make up in credibility. People will listen to him a hundred times more than all other opposition leaders put together. This is one development that brightens up the chances of a viable third front coming up before 2019, once the mystery of his accepting the RSS invitation is cleared.