Petition urges PM Modi to make Azim Premji next President of India, but is he good enough?

Arkadev Ghoshal
Petition urges PM Modi to make Azim Premji next President of India, but is he good enough?

After a petition that urged Congress to put up Shashi Tharoor as its prime ministerial candidate for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, a new petition is here. It urges Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee, BSP chief Mayawati and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav to elect Azim Premji as the next President of India.

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Despite the petition, started by the Muslim Professionals Network (MPN) of India, having already garnered more than 2,300 signatures — and the numbers rising fast — it is unlikely that the Wipro chairman will be elected president, especially when the likes of LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi are in the fray.

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What the petition says

The petition on says: "We strongly believe, Azim Premji would be an ideal candidate for 14th President of India. We request all political parties in India to come forward for supporting the nomination of Azim Premji. [sic]"

It lists a number of reasons why Premji should be the next President. It says Premji has four guiding principles that would make him the best choice for the post, the choices being -- finding common ground, having and showing concern for others, the need to strengthen connectedness in all walks of life and the need for commitment to values.

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Why Premji will not be President

Honestly, the BJP has several other candidates better suited to its agenda waiting in the wings to be the next President of India. The frontrunner is obviously LK Advani, who was deprived of the chance to become Prime Minister multiple times by a confluence of circumstances, until Modi sidelined him for good before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

However, Advani may not make the cut because he has shown some Opposition towards Modi and his policies, and it will not look good if a President — for whatever reason — sends back a Bill cleared both Houses of Parliament and would have otherwise served the BJP's agenda.

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The second, and likelier, choice is Murli Manohar Joshi. Now, although Modi sidelined him to an extent as well, Joshi was not entirely taken out of the BJP's electoral politics. Also, he has a strong affiliation with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, with which Modi himself shares a strong bond.

Additionally, Joshi is one of the few people in the BJP who is still in electoral politics. Ostensibly, he was allowed to contest the Lok Sabha elections because of his clout in UP, where the BJP recently won the Assembly elections by a thumping margin. With that, there may be no more need of him in electoral politics in the state, and the BJP would like to give him a decent farewell by making him President.

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