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Papa’s boys of Indian polity

People across the country have been describing politics as a dirty game.  The dirty picture of politics is emerging due to increasing political ambitions. The clash of ambitions and desires has resulted in politicians grooming their wards. This holds true for almost all the political parties though the degree of affection may vary from one politician to another.

In run up to the succession of chief ministers of states only a few have been successful. They have felt elated to see their sons taking oath as chief ministers in their respective states. It is on record that none of the Congress party chief ministers was able to fulfill such desire.

Three stalwarts belonging to three non-Congress parties got succeeded in doing so. The first was Chaudhary Devi Lal, former chief minister of Haryana, who succeeded in electing his son Om Prakash Chautala to the post of the chief minister.

Om Prakash Chautala was made the chief minister on 2 December 1989 and had to relinquish the post after he failed to get elected to the Assembly within six months. He contested a by-election from Maham in Rohtak district. The election was aborted due to large scale violence and another attempt to install Chautala to the post proved futile. He took over on 12 July 1990 to resign on 17 July 1990 due to substantial differences in V P Singh government as ministers like Arun Nehru and others expressed their deepest shock over the second forced elevation of Chautala. Luck smiled on Chautala in March 1991 when Devi Lal Party and the BJP coalition got majority in the Assembly. The four term chief minister Chautala for the first time completed his term from 2 March 1991 to 6 April 1996.

The second leader to get his son installed as the chief minister is Farooq Abdullah in Jammu and Kashmir. His main qualification was that he was the son and heir of the J&K National Conference leader Sheikh Abdullah. After his father’s death in 1982, Farooq became the chief minister of the state. During 2008 Assembly elections, Farooq decided to hand over the baton to his son Omar after forming a government in coalition with the Congress party. Omar thereon became the scion of the Abdullah family.  

The third to oversee succession in the largest state Uttar Pradesh is Samajwadi Party Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav. Mulayam decided to bestow the highest executive post in the state to his son Akhilesh Yadav. His party secured absolute majority by winning 227 seats out of 403 seats by dethroning the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Both Farooq and Mulayam still have many years of active public life, hence their decision to promote their sons in their respective states seems significant.

Also, there are three veteran leaders of three different non-Congress parties who ventured to fulfill their wish and promoted their sons as deputy chief ministers.

In Punjab, 85-year-old Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader, Parkash Singh Badal still has a chance to promote his son Sukhbir Singh Badal to the post of the chief minister.

Sukhbir was first elevated as the deputy chief minister in SAD-BJP coalition government on 21 January 2009 and was retained on the same post after the Assembly election in August 2009.

In Tamilnadu, the wish of 89-year-old Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader, six time chief minister Karunanidhito see his son M K Stalin taking over as the chief minister seems to be diminishing. Stalin has been declared as Karunanidhi’s political heir and was elevated as the deputy chief minister on 29 May 2009. The DMK lost to AIADMK in 2011 Assembly election. Another veteran Jharkhand party leader, a former union minister and chief minister Shibu Soren would probably have to wait to see his son Hemant Soren to become the chief minister though he succeeded in becoming the deputy chief minister under Arjun Munda.

Fragile leader Shibu with an aim to install Hemant as the chief minister tried to align with the Congress party after the collapse of Munda-led coalition but his efforts yielded no results.

Satpal is a communication consultant

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