All of this leads to the question what role does the PM play in a parliamentary system? After much dillydallying the Congress has finally announced Manmohan Singh as its PM candidate. It is a curious situation to have a man who refuses to contest the Lok Sabha elections as your top guy. But atleast we know that if the Congress manages to return to power it'll be Dr Singh who'll jump around to the strings pulled by Madam Sonia. And for all his political shortcomings Mnamohan Singh is a world renowned expert in his field and a gentleman. The same is the case for the BJP. L K Advani is there for all to see, all 82 years of him, with the Ayodhya warts and all. But still a man of some principles, his stand in the Hawala scam being a case in point.
The third front is where the real action is. Between Ms Mayawati, Ms Jayalalitha and even H D Deve Gowda there are way too many egotistic heavyweights vying for the top job. And this does not even take into consideration that other coterie of Lalu Prasad Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan and Mulayam Singh Yadav. Between these names we have every single one of the worst traits in Indian politics. And the scary part is that, given the current scenario, they have a very real shot at the kursi. Of the lot Mayawati is being talked of as the prime contendor, not least because if things go her way, UP alone will ensure she has considerable bargaining clout. And the Left have already indicated that they dont have any issues with her Prime Ministerial aspirations. But I shudder to imagine an India where the prime aim of Government is to rename everything possible Dr Ambedkar this or that, and spend tax payers money on huge public parks housing statues of Dr Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and rather prematurely, Mayawati herself. The PM is the face we present to the outside world and the very idea of a summit level meeting with President Obama and Mayawati or her fellow aspirants in the Third Front induces waves of nausea. A billion people and is this the best we can find?
The truth is this. For all the hype and hoopla about the power of democracy and the importance of voting, in India we vote for the party not for our choice. The names on the ballots are foisted upon us by the party apparatus. Maybe its time we change over to a Presidential system. Then out votes will really count.