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HVK Archives: Kesri for president, Moopanar for PM being aired to keep BJP at bay

Kesri for president, Moopanar for PM being aired to keep BJP at bay - The Times of India

Janak Singh ()
18 February 1997

Title : Kesri for president, Moopanar for PM being aired to keep BJP at bay
Author : Janak Singh
Publication : The Times of India
Date : February 18, 1997

Although relations between Prime Minister Deve Gowda and Congress
president Sitaram Kesri remain frosty, many within the Congress and
the ruling United Front have opined that for a couple of years
nothing should be done that may force a parliamentary election.

"Until anti-communal forces combine all over the country, a process
which may take about two years, it would not be advisable to go in
for polls," a CWC member commented.

In the aftermath of the CWC decision taken on Sunday - to extend
only issue-based support to the United Front government - various
permutations and combinations are being suggested to forestall the
possibility of political instability, should the differences
between Mr Gowda and Mr Kesri continue to widen.

What will be the final outcome of these moves is difficult to
predict. But a number of suggestions are doing the rounds to deal
with the situation in case there is no improvement in the
Gowda-Kesri chemistry which holds the key to the survival of the
Gowda government at the Centre.

Some of the suggestions look fanciful but nothing can be ruled out,
given the general desire on the part of both the United Front and
the Congress to prevent an election that may see the emergence of
the BJP as the key player at the Centre.

For instance, it was being seriously mooted in political circles
that West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu could be invited to head
the Central, government in case Mr Gowda was found unacceptable to
the Congress. But the major flaw in this suggestion was the
question mark over the reactions of the CPM units in Andhra Pradesh
and Kerala to the West Bengal leader becoming the country's Prime

It is being suggested that should the proposal to instal Mr Basu as
prime minister fail, Tamil Nadu leader G.K. Moopanar could be
invited to take, Mr Moopanar enjoys a good rapport with Mr Kesri
and having been a congressman for long, he would certainly be found
acceptable to the Congress.

Another advantage with Mr Moopanar as the Prime Minister, argue his
supporters, would be his ready acceptance by Sonia Gandhi who
continues to he an important factor in the Congress. Several CWC
members further suggested that for a "stable and lasting
arrangement" Congress president Sitaram Kesri should be elected the
country's President in July. However, it is not known whether Mr
Moopanar and Mr Kesri are agreeable to such proposals. in the past
both have denied having any interest in these posts.

It is stated that with Mr Kesri as the country's President and Mr
Moopanar as the Prime Minister, the north-south balance would be
maintained. Further, it is being felt that Mr Kesri's nomination
for the post of President would find wider acceptance because he
comes from backward community.

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