Yashwant Sinha, former finance India minister, is the joint opposition Presidential candidate of Indian Presidential Election 2022 Image Credit: Gulf News

They are actually the gang that couldn’t shoot straight — aka India’s opposition. And, in every joint meeting they showcase to the voters that our bloated egos are bigger than our political stature.

Any wonder then why three candidates - Sharad Pawar, Farooq Abdullah and Gopal Krishna Gandhi declined to be the opposition’s joint candidate for president.

Now Banerjee has floated a trial balloon the name of Yashwant Sinha, former BJP leader. As well informed readers of SWAT ANALYSIS have known of Sinha's candidature from last week.

The BJP on the other hand is using every election from the Rajya Sabha polls to the legislative council elections in Maharashtra to put a divided opposition on notice. With cross voting in every election, the Congress party, the Shiv Sena and others are scrambling to sequester their legislators and MPs.

Personalised politics of India

Optics truly matters in the personalised politics of India so even analysts wonder why the fractious opposition keeps signalling its divisions to the voters on every occasion. Sonia Gandhi, interim Congress president and Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, took the lead on the election of President.

Both put a lot of personal political capital at stake yet Pawar, a master of politics played the artful dodger in his candidature. Outraged opposition leaders say he first agreed and then sensing a losing game, changed his mind.

In the case of Yashwant Sinha, Banerjee and others feel that as a leader from Bihar it is likely that Nitish Kumar, Bihar, Chief Minister will support his candidature and also signal his upset with the BJP.

In a similar move the Shiv Sena, then a BJP ally, had supported the candidature of Pratibha Patil because she was a leader from Maharashtra.

Sinha has agreed to be the candidate as he is extremely angry with the current leaders of the BJP. But, the candidature of a politician as usual is hardly using political imagination or an out of the box candidate, who would at least be likely to fire people’s imagination.

The same old faces

Says a senior opposition leader to Gulf News, “when you know you are bound to lose you can even select Shahrukh Khan. At least people will be interested. If you keep coming up with the same old faces, all that the Indians will do is yawn.”

The leader has a point. The BJP like any other government at the centre will not lose the contest for president. So far no sitting government has. It’s simply too sensitive a post for the government not to have its own nominee. Specially when the big swearing in will occur in two years.

The BJP played its cards close to its chest mainly because it knows it will win and also expose the fence sitters in the opposition such as the Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi party (AAP), Jaganmohan Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and Navin Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha. They have all signalled that they will not adopt the opposition’s candidate for the big job.

The BJP always likes to pull a rabbit out of its hat and it was the same this time around. The candidate — in this case Droupadi Murmu, Former Jharkhand Governor — ticks all politically correct boxes and will win.

And, all that the opposition will achieve is an unedifying spectacle of permanent squabbling. The egos have landed.