What is India’s president genuinely for?

India’s 14th President receives 65.6% of votes to overcome joint Opposition candidate Meira Kumar

Ram Nath Kovind became declared elected as India’s 14th President polling sixty five.6% of the vote defeating the Opposition’s joint candidate, former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who secured 34% of the vote.

 

 

Mr. Kovind could be the second one Dalit President of India after past due President K.R. Narayanan but, extra extensively, the primary from politically massive Uttar Pradesh and the primary individual from the BJP to hold the workplace of President considering the fact that Independence.

Speaking to the press after returning officer for the poll, Anoop Mishra, declared him elected, Mr. Kovind stated it turned into an “emotional second” for him.

“I in no way dreamed of this function nor become it a intention. My election to this publish is a message to all those who discharge their obligations with honesty and integrity,” he said, promising to uphold the Constitution of India and follow the coverage of Sarve Bhavantu Sukheenaha or peace and prosperity to all.

The total variety of MPs and MLAs who cast their votes became 4851, bearing a blended cost of 1090300. However, with seventy seven votes being declared invalid — 21 from Parliament on my own — the total quantity of legitimate votes turned into 4774, bearing a blended cost of 1069358. Mr. Kovind polled 2930 of those votes — bearing a cost of 702044 — and Ms. Kumar 1844 votes — with a fee of 367314.

Highest vote cost

The fee of every vote of an MP changed into 708. Among the States, each vote in Uttar Pradesh had the best value of 208, at the same time as each vote from Sikkim had the bottom fee of seven. Mr. Kovind got the very best variety of votes – 335 – from U.P. And the lowest – just 1 – from Kerala.

Ms. Kumar secured the best number of votes – 273 – from West Bengal and drew a blank in Andhra Pradesh.

Does the Indian president serve a basically ceremonial position? Is this an insignificant figurehead who, inside the phrases of former top minister Jawaharlal Nehru, is a “head that neither reigns nor governs”, and holds a function of “authority or dignity” greater than anything else?
Last month’s election of Ram Nath Kovind because the republic’s 14th president reignited the controversy. In his inaugural speech, President Kovind, a former spokesman for the ruling BJP, promised citizens he would “stay proper to the accept as true with that they have bestowed me”.
So do Indians want an assertive or pliant president? Should they be simply a titular head? Are Indian presidents mere “rubber stamps”? And what happens when the president acts in an assertive and/or partisan manner?

The Indian presidency differs from maximum presidencies internationally. The president does no longer work out govt powers – he’s the head of the kingdom, and is needed via the constitution to behave on the advice of ministers.
So the function is greater akin to that of the British monarch or monarchs in nations like the Netherlands or Spain: a referee over a parliamentary machine in which ministers possess the real power. Countries like Germany and Israel have presidencies just like India’s.
But James Manor, a professor on the London-based totally Institute of Commonwealth Studies who has significantly researched the presidency, says Indian presidents are “no longer completely rubber stamps”.
They can ask ministers to rethink movements, offer them the non-public recommendation and produce warnings. They also make public speeches which indicate, at least subtly, “a few differences of view with the authorities, and which may swing public opinion”.

 

Also, greater importance, after elections, presidents are unfastened to act – and must act – without the advice of ministers if no celebration has been capable of garner a parliamentary majority. They also have a few free to decide whether or not to just accept a top minister’s request for dissolving the parliament to permit a general election.
India’s first president, Rajendra Prasad, frequently disagreed with prime minister Nehru and sometimes subtly criticized the government in his public statements.
In what many trusts were a shameful low for the presidency, the 5th president. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, with ease, acquiesced to former high minister Indira Gandhi’s call for a statement to impose a country of emergency – whilst civil liberties had been suspended – in 1975.
Stormy courting
The 7th President, Giani Zail Singh, – a former Congress government domestic minister who as soon as instructed the parliament that he renowned Adolf Hitler – had a stormy courting with the then high minister Rajiv Gandhi.
In 1987, he withheld assent from an arguable bill exceeded with the aid of the Parliament. (The bill changed into later withdrawn.) There were reviews that Mr. Singh, who died in 1994, had even taken into consideration sacking Mr. Gandhi’s authorities over an arms buying scandal.
The ninth incumbent Shankar Dayal Sharma back two government orders to the cupboard in 1996 due to the fact they had been “inappropriately” issued before a well-known election.
And his successor, KR Narayanan, a London School of Economics-educated former diplomat and Dalit (previously called “untouchable”), turned into arguably certainly one of India’s maximum assertive presidents. He delivered speeches which many believed had been not vetted with the aid of the authorities and, in a shocking spoil from protocol, even gave an interview to a senior journalist.

 

Mr. Narayanan additionally sent again an offer to impose direct rule on the northern nation of Uttar Pradesh to the cabinet, asking the ministers to rethink it. He bluntly stated: “I am no longer a rubber stamp.”
And he angered many inside the government and the media for chiding visiting US president Bill Clinton at a country dinner party, provoking the New York Times to remark that “the tensions inherent in forging an Indian-American friendship surfaced with Mr. Narayanan’s Speech”.
His successor APJ Kalam, one of the maximum famous Indian presidents, become extra confined, as soon as returning a workplace of income bill for reconsideration. The parliament again the invoice to him with out changes, and he signed it into regulation.
‘More assertive’
Prof Manor believes Mr. Kovind’s predecessor, Pranab Mukherjee, a veteran Congress party leader and a former senior minister, became “greater assertive than nearly all preceding presidents”.
Although he rejected a report 28 mercy pleas of demise row convicts all through his tenure, Mr. Mukherjee defied the recommendation of the government and commuted the loss of life sentences of four convicts in January.

“Mr. Mukherjee had the right to refer the one’s instances returned to ministers for reconsideration as soon as, but when they reiterated the recommendation, he is required to accept it. He refused to accomplish that,” explains Prof Manor.
“That was potentially explosive politically and may have led to a constitutional disaster. But the prime minister and cabinet seemingly determined now not to make an issue of it – due to the fact Mr. Mukherjee’s time period changed into quickly to cease, and because a war of words might have avoided them from doing different important things.”
Many worries that governments with overwhelming majorities – like the gift BJP – ought to without problems cause weakening of presidents.
That may not be completely proper. Ruling events have loved hefty majorities for most of the length when you consider that 1947. “This by myself has now not led – below Congress or the BJP – to a weakening of the presidency. When a celebration or an alliance has a Lok Sabha majority, the president is supposed to have very restricted powers,” says Prof Manor.
“I am not a huge fan of the [Narendra] Modi government, however, I don’t assume [it] undermined the office when Mr. Mukherjee became president. Now that they have a president with whom they’re relaxed, they may be not likely to accomplish that in the future.”

 

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