Zail Singh Angling For Second Term

NEW DELHI, India: The spot light is again on President Zail Singh in the Capital and the Parliamentary circles are exercised over the likely move that he may make in the coming days to carry forward his confrontation with the Prime Minister a step further. Two developments have renewed speculation.

First the President is keeping his options open in relation to his decision whether to contest for the second term in Rashtrapati Bhawan. He has been displaying impatience over the Prime Minister’s action in not fulfilling the constitutional obligations under article 78 of the Constitution.

For several weeks in the past the President had made statements in the publing airing his disinclination to contest for the high office for the second term. However, in the last week while chatting with newsmen at Dhoewar in Karnataka, he said that he had not made up his mind and he would not like to make a definite statement. This has led to rumours that Giani Zail Singh may accept 4 nomination from opposition parties to fight the Congress (I) nominee, These rumours obviously suggest that the President is known to have been consulting various politicians and collecting opinions not only on the chances of opposition party sponsorship coming his way but also on the extent of support from opposition ruled states. He is understood to have had 45 minute discussion with a C.P.M. member of the Lok Sabha who was invited in the Rashtrapati Bhawan. During the discussion, which was concerned with the political situation, the President is understood to have asked the member what attitude C.P.M. was likely to adopt in the next Presidential elections. Interestingly some sources say that the President’s assessment is some that leaders who are professing loyalty to the Prime Minister may spring a surprise in the Presidential poll. In fact, most of the opposition parties have not yet given serious thought to the Presidential contest. Their eyes are at present set on Haryana election. The talk of the combined National opposition sponsoring

Giani Zail Singh as its candidate for President ship has not received any preferential attention and ia been linked with his relationship with the Prime Minister. However, it was felt that the meeting of opposition Chief Ministers convened by the West Bengal Chief Minister may devote some thought to the presidential contest. But this meeting has decided to refer the matter to their parent parties. In the light of President Prime Minister relationship the untoward controversy has taken a new turn with an open appeal by Kamlapati Tripatti to Giani Zail Singh not to consider any mischievous suggestion like dismissing the Prime Minister a dissolving the Parliament.

Article extracted from this publication >>  May 1, 1987