04 December, 2020

Lonely Trek To Raisina Hill

After a difficult climb, K.R. Narayanan is the consensus candidate for India's next president

Lonely Trek To Raisina Hill

I'm not a politician and my other habits are good.
Artemus Ward, Fourth of July Oration.

PEFFECT credentials for the office of the president of India, the highest office of state of the republic. And words that Kocheril Raman Narayanan, at 76 and at the threshold of his career's pinnacle, can easily claim for himself without opposition. Despite the fact that he has thrice been elected to the Lok Sabha (1984,'89 and '91) from Kerala on a Congress ticket and was a minister in the Rajiv Gandhi-led government for five years before his elevation to vice-president in 1992. He has been that sort of a politician.

But what sort of a president will he make? Scholar, diplomat, journalist; pupil of Harold Laski, protege of Nehru, Narayanan has had many avatars. Nearly as many as the adjectives used liberally to describe him--erudite, sophisticated, learned, unassuming. He has come a long way for a man who missed the boat, quite literally, when he was starting out in life. He was in his mid-twenties and having "pulled himself up from his bootstraps" when...



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