Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Musharraf supports Shekhawat as prime minister

Brother in ArmsLahore, Pakistan. Deposed Pakistani president Gen Parvez Musharraf has virtually staged another coup. Ironically, he poses no danger to either President Zardari or PM Gilani of that country. Instead, accolades the General recently showered on former Indian vice president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat have triggered tremors in political circles of India.

Shekhawat, a veteran BJP leader in his late 80s, had recently let a cat out among good old pigeons roosting at that party’s head office. He announced that he was prepared, “health permitting”, to lead the youth of the country as their Prime Minister to overcome the challenges facing them.

It was the possibility of his contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls that prompted Gen Musharraf to hail him as a ‘Karmayogi’. The General, who is preparing to establish himself in the US lecture circuit in 2009, said: “Not everyone who has enjoyed a ceremonial status for five long years would be willing to sacrifice and jump into the cesspool of politics again. I admire the sense of commitment toward the people that Shekhawat Saheb has displayed and look forward to emulate him some day.”

With the former BJP stalwart getting such a celebrity endorsement, it will not be the chief of Bahujan Samaj Party that the Congress-led UPA coalition dreads the most anymore . Mayawati, the energetic chief minister of Uttar Pradesh was till recently considered as the most formidable rival to Prime minister Manmohan Singh. Congress had planned to project her, still in her early 50s, as too inexperienced for tackling the country’s problems. At the same time, its own seasoned economist, in his 70s, was much younger than the NDA nominee LK Advani, who is already in his 80s.

Shekhawat’s comeback to the political arena has sent more shivers down the spine of BJP than even the Congress. He has prompted BJP president Rajnath Singh to declare a truce with the rival faction led by former deputy PM, LK Advani.

“Advaniji is our undisputed candidate for the Prime Ministerial post and would continue to be so,” he declared and added, “Someone who has served on a constitutional post do not enter electoral fray. It is not in our tradition. After bathing in the Ganga, why would one want to swim in the local well?”

The unfazed 85-year-old rebel ridiculed the arguments about constitutional propriety as well as the Ganga. He said he had not asked Rajnath Singh for a party ticket, adding that he was yet to decide the constituency as well as the party in the event of his entering the fray. Shekhawat recalled that Rajaji, British India’s last Viceroy and independent India’s Governor-General, had obliged Nehru by becoming the chief minister of erstwhile Madras state.

Faking News could not trace Rajaji for his reactions. But it did get across to Gen Musharraf, who concurred with the irrelevance of protocol when it comes to serving the people. “I have been Prime Minister of Pakistan and also I had employed five PMs in the seven years that I was President. But, if my people command me, I am prepared to serve them even as a Chief Justice reporting to both PM and President.”

Several RSS pracharaks do not see anything wrong in Shekhawat’s desire to serve the people again. They point out that he can pave the way for a congenial relation between PM and President. After all, Pratibha Patil’s spouse is a Shekhawat too – Devisingh Ransingh Shekhawat – and blood is thicker than Ganga water.

Barring the launch of some united front by greenhorns like Mayawati, Omar Abdullah, Rahul Gandhi and Raj Thackeray, who entertain ‘national’ level ambitions, the former vice president is sure to emerge victorious. He has already started working on constituting a ‘national’ government. Sources close to him claim that Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi, the 84-year-old chief of DMK, and the Marxist chief minister of Kerala, VS Achutanandan, who is well past 80, have already been sounded to be senior ministers.

(This exclusive scoop has been brought to you by chhuchhundarbaba)


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