nion Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh’s offer to resign from the cabinet and from the Rajya Sabha in view of the selection of his son Brijendra as the BJP candidate from Hisar is a welcome move. This argument of the Congress turned BJP politician from Haryana does not hold water. He said he wanted to send a message against dynastic politics through the action. However, merely by resigning from office, Singh cannot claim that he is not playing dynastic politics, especially when his son is entering the fray from the same party from which he hails. Dynastic politics is inimical to democracy only when the actions of such politicians are focused solely on the development of their own family and their coterie. Leadership should transcend such considerations and ensure that benefits percolate to the deserving. The trouble with families currently involved in politics is that wealth and benefits stagnate with them. The progeny generally join the same party of the elders and prefer to contest from the same constituencies or areas over which the earlier generations held influence. It is not wrong for the children of politicians to follow in the footsteps of their parents, just as Prithviraj Kapoor’s three sons and their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren or Yash Chopra and his children hold control in Bombay film industry even today; Late Dhirubhai Ambani and his two sons and grandchildren hold the financial reins of India; even the children of doctors, lawyers, army families and technicians follow the path set by their parents. The only difference is noticeable in families practicing agriculture. Nowadays, the children of farmers generally opt out of the parents’ profession because that does not seem to hold social or economic attraction. The society can never, ever be equal as people are of diverse natures and the opportunities that come their way to help them realize their potential is bound to be limited, owing to multiple factors. However, political leadership, especially in a democracy, needs to have respect and empathy for the less fortunate and it must ensure that they work for the benefit of people. India has borne witness to a variety of leaders who are still cited as examples for simplicity in office, though their numbers are few and far between. There also have been too many leaders who have been known to have amassed wealth not only disproportionate to known sources of income but way beyond that. It is quite possible that leaders may have earned all their wealth through toil from humble origins, like the much maligned late Jayalalithaa had from her movie career but it is also important that there be some transparency about the wealth, particularly when they are in power. Telugu Desam Party chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu declared wealth of Rs.668 crore, making him the third richest politician in the country, while his son Nara Lokesh declared wealth of Rs320 crore. Nara Brahmani, the wife of Lokesh and a businesswoman, has declared assets of Rs.33 crore, including movable assets of over Rs 14 crore. And Devansh, their four-year-old son, owns assets of over Rs 19 crore. Although Naidu claims that all the earnings have come from the profitable business ventures his family runs, it is suspect that he would have come by wealth of such proportions had he not been in power. The mining barons of Karnataka who dabbled in politics were examples of how power made them wealthier. The Bharatiya Janata Party is claiming that it plans to rid the country of dynastic politics. The story of Poonam Mahajan, MP, daughter of late Pramod Mahajan, Ravi Shankar Prasad son of Thakur Prasad who was a very powerful Jan Sangh/RSS leader of Bihar, Piyush Goyal’s father late Ved Prakash Goyal was a powerful leader and BJP’s National Treasurer for over two decades and last but not least is Jayant Sinha, a current minister in the Modi cabinet and son of former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha are best left untold. This demonstrates that the BJP or any other party in India cannot lead by example. So, there they are.
Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi has been made to scurry for cover; and that too, in his own homeland...Read more