‘I realise the pluses and minuses (of contesting), but I am not a sacrificial animal’


In this Idea Exchange, NDA's Vice-Presidential nominee Jaswant Singh says the constitutional offices of President and Vice-President have become "victims of the political system". This session was moderated by Contributing Editor Coomi Kapoor

Coomi Kapoor: Do you think you are in a race where you have very little chance of winning, where the numbers are stacked against you?

Jaswant Singh: Someone had earlier asked me the same question. I had said that in vernacular, I would be termed an 'umeedwaar'. And I have been termed an umeedwaar because I have 'umeed', otherwise not.

Maneesh Chhibber: Some would also say that since nobody else wanted to contest, you might be, in the vernacular, the 'bali ka bakra'. How much of a chance do you give yourself?

Jaswant Singh: It is the beginning of the campaign. Of course, I realise what the pluses and minuses are, but I am not a sacrificial animal. It is necessary that some new and important questions relating to the election to these two high offices—of the President and the Vice-President—of the republic be raised and at least attempted to be answered.

Coomi Kapoor: How did Hamid Ansari conduct himself as Vice-President?

Jaswant Singh: Mr Ansari and I worked together in the Ministry of External Affairs in different capacities. Mr Ansari was the ambassador in Saudi Arabia. So I have known him. But as for the discharge of his responsibilities as the chairman of the Rajya Sabha or the Vice-President, I'm sorry, I would desist from commenting.

Maneesh Chhibber: How did your name come to be finalised for this post? The party was dithering till the very end.

Jaswant Singh: No, I don't think there was any dithering in the party. It was Shri L K Advani who raised this topic with me, quite a few months ago, and asked if I would consider contesting for either of these two positions. I didn't take it seriously then. He repeated this two-three times. One day, I sat with him and discussed it. It was only after due deliberations with him that he advised I consider it seriously. I reflected on it. But by then, Mr Sangma had thrown his hat into the ring. And then it was fairly known that I would be required to contest the vice-presidential elections.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.