New Delhi: Without letting the many controversies surrounding her and her family members be a distraction, President Pratibha Patil is all set to pull off a ‘historical first’, which she hopes will be a ‘major source of inspiration for all Indian women’.
With the UPA unlikely to renominate her for the post of President, Pratibha Patil, in all likelihood, will demit her office in July, thereby becoming the ‘first woman in the country to be a former President.’
To put her epoch-making record in proper perspective, the first male President, Dr Rajendra Prasad, took 12 years to become the ex-President (sworn in 1950, he became a former President only in 1962), whereas the unassuming Pratibha Patil, who is the first woman President, has managed to accomplish the same in a snappy six years.
The President herself seems a bit overwhelmed by the staggering achievement staring her in the face. But in this moment of glory for her she chose to thank UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi ‘without whose backing I could not have pulled off this major achievement’.
‘If not for Sonia deciding not to renominate me for the post, I will not be on course to becoming the first Indian woman former President. I am duty bound to thank Sonia for this major achievement,’ a visibly emotional Pratibha Patil told newsmen aboard the flight from South Africa where she was on tour to enhance bilateral trade between the two countries by accumulating frequent flier points.
‘But still, nobody can take away Sonia’s record in letting me have the record of being the first woman former President of India,’ Pratibha explained astutely.
The President expressed the hope that this record of hers would shut the mouth of her critics who had accused that she had not achieved anything important during her tenure. ‘As a matter of fact, anybody can, technically, hope to become the President of the country. But it is not the case with becoming the ex-President,’ the soft-spoken Pratibha Patil pointed out. ‘Only a chosen few get to even hope for this,’ she said with unbeatable logic.
Pratibha Patil also said that this was just the beginning and she hoped to accomplish many more firsts and be a source of inspiration for all Indian women. Though she didn’t spell out what achievements she had in her mind, informed sources, however, revealed that Pratibha Patil, once she demits the office of the President, would join the Rotary Club of Rajasthan, thereby becoming the first former woman President of the country to be the present president of Rotary Club of Rajasthan. (As a record that can only get better because she can later become the first former woman President of the country turned first former president of Rotary Club of Rajasthan. As a matter of fact, the options before her are limitless. So are her chances to create history).
Asked what she planned to do after ceasing to hold the country’s top Constitutional job, Pratibha Patil said the beauty of President’s post was that it let one do officially what others would generally attempt post-retirement. Like travelling. There aren’t any more continents in the universe that Pratibha Patil hasn’t travelled to officially.
It is not clear whether Pratibha Patil intends taking up writing poetry after her retirement. But going by what happened to her predecessor Abdul Kalam she may not. For the record, Kalam’s candidature for renomination as the President this time around was scuttled based on the quality of the poems that he wrote after his retirement. ‘Anyone who writes verses of this nature is a Constitutional risk,’ was the general consensus.
Meanwhile, with political consensus eluding on the choice of the President, the UPA increasingly looks like taking the decision that it usually takes when faced with a vacant post and a lack of choice: Outsource it to Kapil Sibal.
If there is no unanimity over the choice of the President we will stick to established procedures and ask Sibal to take the additional charge of the post, said a Congress spokesperson. ‘By now, even the Constitution probably recognises the fact that Sibal is the super-sub in the scheme of things,’ he said and added ‘all searches eventually end up with Sibal.’ This may also be due to the fact that Sibal sometimes attempts to control Google, too.
(Disclaimer: It’s only a rumour that Pratibha Patil is to be made the brand ambassador of cleartrip.com)