the race begins
July 2017 will be another significant and momentous moment in the history of the country as the elected representatives of the people will elect a new Rashtrapati. Discussion and speculation have already started. There is a long list of veteran leaders who are being mentioned as probables. In BJP circles, LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi are at the top of the list. Advani and Pranab Mukherjee are contemporaries in politics as both joined the Rajya Sabha in 1969 with a difference of six months. But if political circumstances take on a new dimension, the ball may fall in another’s court. The decision will, of course, all depend on the RSS and Narendra Modi. Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal is also a strong candidate. He has travelled a long way in politics after outwitting Surjit Singh Barnala, Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Jagdev Singh Talwandi. Sharad Pawar, a tall leader from Maharashtra, who started his journey at the age of 38 as Chief Minister of the state, is emerging as another strong candidate. He is a master networker and, after Charan Singh, is the grassroots farmer leader. Another veteran who is also in the reckoning is Dr Karan Singh, a most competent political figure who also possesses knowledge of the Vedas and Upanishads. Pranab Mukherjee, known as a master strategist, may be a second-term aspirant. But after Dr Rajendra Prasad, no President has been given the second term though an exception can always be made. The mist will be cleared in the days to come.