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Pranab begins mugging up for 2014

October 09, 2013 15:44 IST

The President has begun studying Constitutional and Presidential precedents in anticipation of a fractured mandate in next year's general election, reveals R Prema.

President Pranab MukherjeeWhat will Pranab Mukherjee do in May 2014?

If the general election throws up a clear mandate, the President will play no role beyond inviting the next prime minister to form the government.

But if it is an unclear mandate, Congress leaders are worried the President will play King Maker.

Mukherjee has already begun studying his predecessors's decisions. Among the Presidents, the current Rashtrapati is studying are Ramaswamy Venkataraman, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, K R Narayanan and A P J Abdul Kalam, all of whom were confronted with multiple leadership choices after a fractured mandate general election.

The President -- who has a reputation for Constitutional propriety -- has also met with three former Chief Justices of India to get a Constitutional framework for past Presidential decisions.

The President takes copious notes on which President took what decision to satisfy themselves on inviting which leader to form the government.

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Is the President also playing the role of prime minister?

During his State visit to Mauritius some months ago, the President discussed the Double Taxation Treaty between India and Mauritius, and brought fresh life to the decade-old controversy.

On his recent visits to Belgium and Turkey, the President spoke out forcefully on terrorism and nuclear matters.

As one minister quipped, Pranab Mukherjee is now speaking on behalf of South Block and North Block, and four ministries -- defence, external affairs, finance and home.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was spellbound by the President's grasp of international issues, and India's desire to revive defence agreements and joint military exercises with Turkey.

At the end of their encounter, Davutoglu bowed down in respect to the President's age, experience and wisdom.

R Prema in New Delhi