Plus – He has lost the confidence of the urban middle class and this would be a good way for Madam to kick him upstairs without looking like an ingrate. The UPA can pretend it’s beginning “on a clean slate” says Afternoon Despatch & Courier and get in a wilier politician in the PM’s gaddi to halt the party’s electoral slide. The PM might not be averse to a stint in the Rashtrapati spa to “calm his frayed nerves” and wipe out “all the bad karma” as a “dysfunctional Prime Minister” a 10, Janpath source told Firstpost.
Minus – Sonia Gandhi needs to find a likely replacement for Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister . After the Antony-Army Chief debacle Pranab-da would be the man to replace him as PM “but given the trust deficit between him and Madam, his prime ministerial ambitions are unlikely to be fulfilled,” says Afternoon Despatch & Courier.
Plus – Pranab-da is ready to retire from active politics. The Telegraph says many in the Congress consider him “the best man for the President’s job”. But Mukherjee has also said there’s more “support for his candidature as president outside his party than within.
Minus – His problem is he’s too “indispensable.” Where will the Congress find a man, asks The Telegraph, who can handle “all kinds of subjects, from financial to political, through dozens of groups of ministers, the cabinet and Parliament”? He is Sonia’s Mr. Fix-it even as she has her “trust deficit” problems with him. Pranab-da’s only chance is if the other parties want him as a consensus candidate.
P A Sangma / A K Antony
Plus -There has been a Hindu, Muslim and Sikh president but not a Christian one as yet. Antony is a Gandhi loyalist and has a Mr. Clean rep. Meanwhile Nationalist Congress Party’s P A Sangma is a Roman Catholic. He’s actually a three-in-one – first Christian, first tribal, first Northeasterner. NCP chief Sharad Pawar has good equations across party lines and could push for him.
Minus – Antony’s handling of the army chief controversy was not exactly stellar. And it’s still a little fresh in people’s memories. Sangma, says ET, is getting a little too cozy with Mamata Banerjee, UPA’s in-house tormenter-in-chief. Also “the circumstances under which he quit the Congress party will not find favour with the loyalists,” says DNA. The issue is the UPA’s touchiest subject – Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origins. He’s said sorry but is that sorry enough to be President?
Plus – The UPA needs him desperately so that it’s not entirely dependent on Didi’s whims. Mulayam gave up the top job in UP to his son to focus on Delhi anyway. The Samajwadi Party with its new-found post UP clout is sounding out other parties reports Indian Express. SP’s Rajya Sabha MP Kiranmoy Nanda called on Mamata Banerjee recently. “Now Netaji cannot be the CM. He can try for the PM’s chair, but this cannot be guaranteed. So the best option left is to make an attempt to enter the Rashtrapati Bhavan,” said a senior SP leader told Indian Express.
Minus – That old goonda party reputation. The mind is willing but the flesh is weak. He is 75 and not in great health. Some in his party think he should still keep himself “in contention for the PM’s post in 2014.”
In the other politiciasn category there’s also Parkash Singh Badal. The Shiromani Akali Dal chief’s name has been doing the rounds as a vice presidential candidate. But the Sunday Guardian says the Left could back him if the NDA proposes his name.
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