The opposition’s joint candidate for the presidential election, Yashwant Sinha, on Thursday said if elected he would remain accountable only to the Constitution and would stop the government from doing something that was in violation of the principles of democracy such as toppling an elected state government. Sinha, who was in the Uttar Pradesh capital seeking support for his candidature, also said that this time the presidential election is being held under some extraordinary circumstances as the whole society seems to have been disturbed and divided into two or three parts.
“If I am elected the President of the country, first and foremost I will be answerable to the Constitution, only to the Constitution. This does not mean that we have to be on collision course with whoever is the Prime Minister. A way-out can be found by sitting and talking with the Prime Minister, as has happened many times in the past," he told reporters.
Addressing a press conference at the Samajwadi Party office, Sinha said, “I will work as the guardian of the Constitution in Rashtrapati Bhavan. If it comes to my attention that the Government of India is doing something that is a violation of democracy, like toppling the elected state governments as seen in some states, then it is the duty of the President to stop the Government of India from doing so." Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and RLD national president Jayant Chaudhary were present at the press conference.
Underlining his other priorities, Sinha said, “I will try to stop the communal division in society. Apart from this, I will protect freedom of the press and freedom of expression within the ambit of the Constitution. What is the condition of the press is not hidden from anyone. I condemn the arrest of journalist (Mohammed) Zubair." “The country does not want a silent President but a President who uses his discretion," he said. In the presidential election slated for July 18, Sinha is pitted against Droupadi Murmu, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate.
Sinha said that the presidential election this time is being held under some extraordinary circumstances and added, “We are seeing that our whole society has become disturbed. It seems that it has been divided into two or three parts. It seems no one is in a position to explain to anyone." “If some incident takes place, the Prime Minister who often talks about his mind remains silent on them, does not say anything. We feel that if the Prime Minister of the country speaks on all these incidents, then it will have an effect on pacifying the matter. But he does not say anything on this."
“It is a turbulent and extraordinary situation that has arisen in our country. As a result, the ‘Maryada’ of the Constitution has been lost. The values of the Constitution are not being protected today, but those values are being disregarded by the party in government. If this continues, then one day we will find that the Constitution has been destroyed and the Articles of the Constitution have no importance," he added. He alleged that it seemed the people sitting in the government wanted the society to be divided because a divided society gave them hope that they would get votes.
To a question on NDA nominee and tribal leader Murmu who is also scheduled to visit Lucknow, Sinha said the media should ask her if she was ready to do what he spoke about doing if elected or she would remain a silent President. “India does not want a silent President, India needs a President who can exercise discretion," he said.
To a question on the possibility of a tribal becoming the President for the first time, Sinha said the upliftment of one person does not uplift the whole society.