A Fight for North Eastern Dignity – Presidential Polls 2012

Pranab Mukherjee the next president of India? Well, unless and until a miracle happens in favour of P.A. Sangma, this seems to be a foregone conclusion now if we believe common sense and simple arithmetic in the forthcoming presidential polls. Pranab Mukherjee has the numbers on his side. P.A. Sangma cannot win this election even if he gets 25% of the Congress vote as claimed by Subrahmaniam Swamy. The stalwarts on Sangma’s side are asking everyone to cast conscience vote and they think this can save Sangma’s chances. But politics is not a realm of conscience. The hard reality is that politics does but only speak about sacrifice and utopia. Politics is only about gains and bargains and P.A. Sangma’s side as in the current situation is no match to Mukherjee’s in bargaining. NDA partner JD(U) has already got a 20,000 crore package for Bihar from the centre in return for supporting Pranab’s claim to the Raisina Hills.
What is P.A. Sangma doing in the contest then? While a lot of accusations have been made against Sangma for ‘falling in the hands of vested interests’, it can be said that he has not done any crime in taking support from the BJP besides other parties. Secularism in Indian politics is a funny cliché and is not a very powerful means nowadays to set up effective double standards to prevent your opponent from being opportunistic like you. P.A. Sangma has every right to contest this election though his defeat is almost inevitable and it is not fair to ridicule him for getting involved in ‘yet another loosing game’.
P.A. Sangma’s fight can be seen as the fight of a Northeasterner against forces who deny the people of Northeast the same level of ‘Indianness’ as that of the people of other parts of India. Whether Sangma wins or loses this fight, he has definitely managed to remind those who think there is no India beyond West Bengal that the people of Northeast are not prevented by the constitution of India to take part in a very ‘Mainstream’ activity like the presidential polls. Sangma’s symbolic fight should remind every Notheasterner that former president Fakharuddin Ali Ahmed(the first Assamese president) was not just an exception and every other person in the Northeast is provided with as much ‘Indianness’ as that of the people of other areas. Sangma has very strongly put forward his argument- if someone can be the president because he is a Dalit, If someone can be a president just because it is politically correct to have a female president, then why not a tribal from the Northeast as the president of India?
However the euphoria among the people of Northeast regarding Sangma’s candidature has also taken some wrong turns. Certain so called ‘Northeast’ groups on social networking sites are making a mockery of the Northeastern identity with silly and laughable statements like ‘Please save the people of Northeast by voting in favour of Sangma’. Instead of such ultra emotional pleas the people of Northeast should try to understand and celebrate the dignity of Sangma’s fight. Sangma’s defeat is inevitable. But let us not rob it of its dignity because it is the dignity of the Northeast and the Northeasterners needs to protect it.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in the above article are entirely that of the authors and not the magazine’s.

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