14 June, 2021

The President's Prerogative?

Shankar Dayal Sharma triggers a row by inviting politicians to an annual governors' conclave, sidestepping convention

The President's Prerogative?

HAVING sworn in three prime ministers in less than a year, President Shankar Dayal Sharma has, by any reckoning, presided over a tumultuous and controversy-strewn phase in coalition politics. Now, at the fag end of his tenure, the president has himself sparked off a controversy by becoming the first head of state to convene a conference of governors where leaders of major political parties, including the Janata Dal, Congress, BJP, CPI, CPI(M), Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) and DMK, have been invited. The two-day conclave kicks off on June 2 and political parties are already quibbling over whether the president has overstepped convention in organising such a meet.

What has fuelled the controversy is the conclave's timing. The president has not yet made it clear whether he will join the race for another term and, hence, the conference acquires subtle political overtones. But the BJP, the Congress and JD leaders say Sharma will not be able to make much political capital out of a meet which can do little beyond making suggestions.


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