Former Union minister and Congress leader C K Jaffer Sharief said on Tuesday that he had advisedA P J Abdul Kalam to refuse the National Democratic Alliance's request to stand for the office of President.
"I advised Kalam strongly that he should refuse the offer of presidentship. But I guess he is only human after all. Why would he turn down such a big post if it came his way?" he told rediff.com
Sharief -- serving his eighth consecutive term in the Lok Sabha -- was against his party backing Kalam's candidature for the President's post.
"If the party does not issue a whip and allows us a conscience vote, I will definitely vote as per my conscience, and you can guess what that implies," he said.
He said he was not a slave of the party but a thinking member of it.
"I told Dr Kalam that the nation has already honoured him enough with a Bharat Ratna," he said. "This presidentship is just an ornamental thing. Why accept this kind of thing? He should have refused it, but he went ahead and accepted it."
Sharief said he had no doubt that Kalam was offered the post because he was a Muslim. "The world opinion of the NDA government has dropped to rock bottom after Ahmedabad [riots]," he said. "I warned Kalam that he was merely being selected as a cover for the atrocities that took place in Gujarat. The BJP is trying to show the world that they are pro-Muslim by choosing this man."
"Well, if they wanted to choose a Muslim for that post, they could have selected someone from the legal field who has knowledge of the constitutional law. Maybe one of the founders of the Constitution, someone who has participated in the original debate, who has a proper understanding of India and its laws... A post like this calls for management of the laws at various stages. God only knows what a scientist can make of all this!"
The 11th President of India: Complete Coverage
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