Pratibha Patil became the President of India on 25/7/2007. Since then three months have passed. There is no news of mercy petitions of murderers sentenced to death.
K. R. Narayanan did not reject any mercy petition. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam rejected one mercy petition. In spite of Home Ministryâ€™s decision to reject mercy petitions the Presidents have allowed murderers to live many more years.
As it is death penalty in awarded in rarest of rare cases. It should have been in every case of murder, hijacking, kidnapping, acid throwing and character assassination. Even the few murderers sentenced to death are not put to death.
Pratibha Patil should act fast and reject all mercy petitions pending with her.
Presidential election 2007 has turned nasty. Pratibha Patilâ€™s record during emergency was dug up. Her comments about purdah created a controversy. Her role in the bankruptcy of a bank of which she was a founder and director, allegations of her brother being a murderer, her husband causing the suicide of a man, misuse of MPLADS fund made headlines.
Congress started to attack Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. The latest accusation against Shekhawat is that in 1942 when the country was following Quit India movement under the leadership of Gandhi Shekhawat joined police force. This is going back 65 years.
Before making this accusation Congress should have examined its track record. During World War II many Indian soldiers joined Indian National Army founded by Subhash Chandra Bose. Indian National Army surrendered in 1945. The soldiers were tried for treason and were acquitted but did not get back their jobs. After independence they were not taken back. This is how the Congress Government led by Jawaharlal Nehru treated freedom fighters.
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 â€“ 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 Womenâ€™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 Womenâ€™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.