A debate was sparked by well-known journalist and filmmaker Pritish Nandy on social media, as polling for the Presidential Elections was underway.
Mr. Nandy questioned when it will be time when an Indian-born Muslim could be Prime Minister or President of India ever again, as an Indian-origin woman Kamala Harris was Vice President of the US and Indian-origin Rishi Sunak was a favourite in the race to being Prime Minister of Britain.
Netizens reacted to Mr. Nandy’s tweet, referrring to the prior appointments of Muslim presidents Zakir Hussain (1967–1969) and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (1974–1977) by the Congress.
Along with this, one of the country’s most popular presidents, President APJ Abdul Kalam, appointed by the ruling BJP in 2002, was also mentioned as a prime example of inclusivity for the top job.
At the same time, attention was also drawn to the tenure of Vice President Hamid Ansari, who is drawing attention for disparate reasons as well. The most recent attack on Ansari is by the BJP’s national spokesman Gaurav Bhatia, who accused him of inviting Nusrat Mirza, a Pakistani journalist with alleged ISI links, to India.
The journalist has claimed to have shared with the ISI information about his visit. Ansari dismissed the charge as a ‘litany of falsehood,’ saying he never met or invited the journalist.
Mr. Nandy reacted to the debate online by posing the larger question ‘Does merit have any role left to play in such appointments or will we continue to succumb to considerations of caste, gender, faith and regional identity?’
For the election of the 15th President of India, NDA’s Draupadi Murmu and the Opposition’s Yashwant Sinha are candidates.
Counting will take place on July 21.