Uploaded on June  21, 2007

The so-called Third Front’s proposal to nominate President APJ Abdul Kalam for a second term in office is a clever move. Convinced that nobody would dare to reject President Kalam’s name because he happens to come from a minority community, the Front thinks it has stumped the UPA. After all no secular party in its right mind would try to look anti-minorities like the BJP.


In a gesture of solidarity the BJP-led NDA nominee Mr. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat has announced that he would withdraw from the contest if there is a consensus on Mr. Kalam. And therein lies the rub. Instead of reassuring the secular UPA and the Left it has made them wary. In that case Mr. Kalam no longer remains somebody from a minority community deserving sympathy, but a man of the virulently communal BJP to be shunned forcefully.

There is a secondary argument in favour of Mr. Kalam: that he is a "missile man". It’s quite obvious that this argument does not cut much ice with anyone. As far as his being a Muslim in concerned, that, too, should not matter much. A President of India represents India, not his community or tribe. The Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of Sikhs, was attacked during the presidency of Giani Zail Singh (a Sikh), and a massacre of Muslims took place in Gujarat in 2000 during the Muslim Mr. Kalam’s presidency. Let us not be too deeply concerned about the religion of the presidential candidates.


A nexus between the supposedly secular Third Front and the transparently anti-Muslim, anti-Christian BJP is quite obvious from the Front’s gambit, supported by the BJP man Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. It is quite obvious that people who object to the BJP’s worldview are not going to take the Kalam bait. At the time of writing this we learn that Mr. Kalam, who was not in favour of a second term till yesterday, has now relented and has agreed on a second term provided everything is "smooth" (a newspaper’s version of Mr. Kalam’s position).


"Smooth", in simple parlance, is "consensus". We are sure consensus it will not be, even though the BJP-led NDA and nobody-led Third Front is hopeful of pulling a hat trick. The Third Front leaders have asked for an appointment with the UPA Chief Sonia Gandhi to explain to her why she should support Mr. Kalam. She has understandably rejected the plea for a meeting.


This NDA-Third Front ploy seems doomed to failure because the UPA has sensed that like a pack of wolves the BJP (which is the only decisive party in the NDA) and the frustrated Third Front are trying to encircle and hunt them down with deceit.


Cunning, deceit and double speak are the forte of BJP as all of us know from bitter experience. We warn the UPA not to get into the trap laid by the deceitful opponent.

Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam

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