Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Pratibha Patil

When I wrote about Shivraj Patil I did not expect the situation to change in the next 24 hours. Much less did I expect Pratibha Patil to be the UPA candidate for President.
Pratibha Patil was not in the picture. Left Front did not go along with UPA. They said no to Shivraj Patil and Karan Singh. This was unexpected. The idea of fielding a woman candidate was floated and Pratibha Patil was acceptable to Left Front.
Bal Thackeray changed his position about Shivraj Patil. Shivraj Patil would not be supported just because he is a Marathi manoos. His contribution as Home Minister was questioned. He did not solve Karnataka – Maharashtra border dispute and did not reject the mercy petition of Afzal.
It is not clear why Karunanidhi had to be a mediator between Congress and Left Front. Is the relationship between Congress and Left Front is strained? If so, it is bad for UPA.
Not much is known about Pratibha Patil. Her candidature may deter cross voting in favour of Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. Pratibha Patil is married to Devisingh Shekhawat. Someone called her a political featherweight. If she had been a political heavyweight she would not have been chosen by Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
A woman becoming President will not make much of a difference to women in the country. We had a woman Prime Minister for 16 years. That did not make much of a difference to women in the country.
Pratibha Patil becoming President has no connection to Women’s Reservation Bill. Women are free to contest and win 100% seats. Events in Rajasthan have shown the need to abolish reservations. As it is Women’s Reservation Bill has not been passed because OBCs demand their share in 33%. Imagine a situation where all communities want their share in 33%.
As things stand Pratibha Patil should win comfortably.

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