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Why Pranab was bumped off: reality behind the presidential race

July 1, 2012

It is almost certain that Pranab Mukherjee will be President, but the sequence of events leading up to his nomination needs more explaining.

Earlier this week Manmohan Singh evoked ‘animal spirits’ of the economy and thankfully only the bulls on the stock-market heard the call and the Sensex shot up by over 400 points in a day. So what lies behind the ‘animal instincts’ statement a day after taking over as Finance Minister?

Manmohan Singh has had his share of hollow statements in terms of the economy – endlessly blaming global factors and classical statements like ‘there is no magic wand’. One looks to magic for solutions only when one is convinced that a timely solution does not exist in the real world. The ‘magic wand’ statement is in fact an acceptance of guilt – that the economy has been dragged so deep in trouble that it will take a long time, if at all, to make any progress.

Given this backdrop, how did the mumbling Manmohan come up with some mumbo-jumbo on GAAR to shore up the markets, two days after Pranab Mukherjee’s departure. The answer is that it perhaps has more to do with Mukherjee’s ousting from the Cabinet. Why couldn’t this announcement have been done when the rupee and GDP were breaching new lows – why the wait for Pranab to move out? It but is obvious that there was a plan to deprive Pranab of any credit. In fact on the following day all newspapers screamed on the front pages “Reforms back on track in FinMin as Pranab leaves”

There is sufficient evidence to show that Pranab Mukherjee never had any economic ideology. In fact Pranab has never strongly expressed his affiliation towards any sort of ideology – be it (pseudo)secularism, loyalty towards the Gandhis, affirmative action etc. It is this openness that won him friends across the political spectrum. Thus, while Sonia Gandhi needed him, she never really wanted him.

Pranab was not the first to quote the global scenario as an excuse for our economy – other Congressmen were. He has been one of the few in the high-handed Cabinet, to concede that there is a problem in the economy and steps need to be taken to fix it. Yet, despite recognising the need to act, why did Pranab never act? Perhaps because he was not allowed.

Sonia was never really a fan of Pranab Mukherjee. For, he is a practising Hindu and has never adequately demonstrated his subservience to “the family”.  Yes, he was loyal to Indira, but not to the family. Thus, Sonia ensured that Pranab’s hands were tied and he was forced to watch the economy slide downwards while continuing to burden the exchequer with populist freebies. Sonia had probably outsourced the task of opposing reforms to Mamata. Example: There was no way the Trinamool could react to the Railway Budget in 7-mins (the time between when Railway Minister Trivedi announced the fare hikes and Derek O’Brien’s tweet). The TMC was informed in advance, and the ensuing drama was in fact a well planned strategy. Using allies as an alibi, Sonia chained the Finance Ministry’s (and other “enemy” ministers’) policies.

Sonia probably used P.Chidambaram to monitor Pranab. Considering that Pranab was the No.2 in the Cabinet there was no way anyone could get away with bugging his office, unless of course they had the blessings of Sonia. Also, with PC heading the Gandhis’ money-laundering department, he had all the support he needed to play these dirty games.

The Presidential election was an ideal opportunity to bump-off Pranab. He was too dangerous to be allowed to become Prime Minister and hence had to be eliminated once and for all. There was absolutely no reason for Mamata to reject Pranab or Mulayam to reject Ansari. M & M were but hand-maidens of Sonia. Their press conference nominating Manmohan Singh for the Presidentship was an absolute farce. It gave the Congress and opportunity to “react” and they nominated Pranab for President. There is no precedent of the most powerful man in government being nominated for Presidency. Has any member of the most powerful Gandhi-Nehru family ever aspired / been nominated for Presidentship? Never. Clearly, this is not an elevation for Pranab – it is an elimination.

Pranab’s nomination was also an invitation for Congress detractors to attack him. Hitherto the attack was focused on the Gandhis, PC and Sibals; Pranab had been largely left out. Even Team Anna had said that their discussions with Pranab were the most fruitful in the height of the Lokpal agitation. But with the Presidential nomination, Arvind Kejriwal alleged that Pranab had been involved in the Scorpene scam. Pranab’s links with the Ambanis was dragged out of the closet (which may be true, but not relevant today). The blame for the economic mess was attributed to Pranab.

What a master stroke – now the Congress can get away with gimmickry on the economy and blame Pranab for all the mess. Rahul is ready to be Prime Minister! Now that is what we call a magic wand!


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  1. Manish permalink

    Theory (hypothesis) is convincing, but few loose strings might be here an there. Firstly, why would Pranab go to abysses of lying when it comes to support Gandhi Family. Secondly, if he knows the truth, he will surely not win the Presidential elections; so why don’t he comes forward openly to tell the truth. Anyways his political career is going to end. Thirdly, Mulayam can very well be said to be a Pawn of Sonia and Congress, but I think for Mamta it seems a bit more of extrapolation than fact. But the article indeed is an excellent piece of thinking.

  2. Do you really believe that any one in government has any economic ideology? It is just an agenda dictated by multinational corporates.

  3. This is Half - Baked permalink

    I really feel this is a half – baked report !

    “It but is obvious that there was a plan to deprive Pranab of any credit.”

    But what use it will be of, when our favourite media and many in the givernment refers to him constantly as the “Best PM India Never Had” “Chief Trouble Shooter” “Defacto CEO of UPA” and all other wonderful terms? He is already popular.

    ” why did Pranab never act? Because he was not allowed.”

    As if he wished to act. It is very obvious that ,despite the frictions, he was hand in gloves with Sonia?

    “Using allies as an alibi, Sonia chained the Finance Ministry’s (and other “enemy” ministers’) policies.”

    Yeah right, even Sonia is not that stupid .

    “The Presidential election was an ideal opportunity to bump-off Pranab. ”

    We do know how every one told that Sonia was not keen on him being the president and later was forced to make him the Presidential nominee when names of Kalam started flying.

    “What a master stroke – now the Congress can get away with gimmickry on the economy and blame Pranab for all the mess”

    This is not going to happen.

    You oculd have saved your energy for something better instead such hocus-pocus like Mr. Swamy At least he talks sense at times, the whole article is pure waste of time !

    • 1) It is not the government but Pranab’s fans outside that shower praises. He is the “Best PM India never had” because despite all the accolades Sonia thought it unfit to make him PM. Exactly my point.
      2) There are surely areas where he was hand in glove with Sonia – he had to, he was a Congress minister after all! But not on the matter of PM-ship, since Indira’s death. Sonia was smart enough to use his services when she needed it, but he has outlived his utility for her I guess.
      3) Sonia did not to publicly announce Pranab’s name till a “crisis was precipitated”. The stunt was needed to show that Pranab’s services in government were greatly value and he was let go to run for Presidentship only to avoid “embarrassment to the party.”
      4) Pranab is already being blamed – the headlines of all major papers were screaming “After Pranab leaves, reforms are back on track” or something to that effect.

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