Random Recollection

Talking about Dynasty, Classic Comedy

Yatindra Bhatnagar

India’s politics throws up many comedic words, scenarios and situations that have become classic items and remain on the scene for ever.

The one about Congress President Rahul Gandhi is that he is an ‘ichchhadhari Hindu (whenever he wants), or occasional Hindu, or election-time Hindu. His mother, Sonia, is also sometimes referred to as Italian Hindu or Catholic Hindu or things like that. For elections in a Hindu majority country it’s good to ‘become’ a Hindu to try and influence Hindu voters.

There is no harm in doing that as Rahul proved in some mini-polls in Gujarat and elsewhere in recent months.

Now the latest is that the Congress leaders have blasted Telangana state’s Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao for promoting ‘family  rule’ in his state. Wow!

[For record, Rao has his son and a nephew in his ministry and his daughter is a Member of Parliament.]

However, it’s a well-documented, historic fact that the Nehru-Gandhi family (no connection to Mahatma Gandhi) has been enjoying dynastic rule and also domination of the Congress Party for generations.

Before India’s independence, twice (1919 and 1928) Moti Lal Nehru was President of the Congress Party, the dominant political organization during the Freedom Struggle, and the ruling party for decades after independence.

Moti Lal’s son Jawahar Lal Nehru became the Congress President in 1929 [and after independence became free India’s first Prime Minister.] Jawahar Lal’s daughter Indira Gandhi became the Congress President in 1959, when Nehru was the Prime Minister. She herself was the Prime Minister (1966 -1977) and 1980-84 when she was assassinated. Her son Sanjay Gandhi, though not a member of the Cabinet, wielded enormous power when Indira was Prime Minister. Indira Gandhi’s husband, Feroze Gandhi (formerly Ghandy) was a Member of India’s Parliament.

[During Jawahar Lal Nehru’s regime his sister, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit served as ambassador to the USSR (now Russia), the United States, U.K. (Britain), Ireland, Spain, and Mexico as well leader of Indian delegation to the United Nations and also as President of the UN General Assembly.]

After Indira’s death, her elder son Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister in 1984-89. [He was assassinated in 1991.]

After Rajiv’s death his wife Sonia, and while growing up their son Rahul, has been wielding power with the  Congress organization under their thumb. Even during the 10 years of Congress rule when Manmohan Singh was Prime Minister, the real power was with Sonia, and to an extent young Rahul Gandhi continuing the stranglehold as the ruling dynasty in India.

[Moti Lal Nehru’s great-great grandsons, Rahul and Varun, are both Members of Parliament, though Varun is with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. ]

This has been a series of generational dynastic dominance in Indian politics and administration. Unprecedented, unmatched and still continues.

Now the dynasty’s scions blasting somebody else for promoting ‘family rule’ or dynasty is absurd and laughable.

Congress Party leaders like Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi have blasted the newest Indian state of Telangana’s Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar  Rao (KCR) of promoting ‘family rule’ in the state.  Rahul has blamed Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao of twisting policies to suit "one family" - his own - and said there's evidence of dynastic politics.

That attack has, rightly, drew stinging response like the ‘pot calling the kettle black’ etc.

It was also termed a ‘classic comedy’ and the ‘joke of the millennium.’

KCR’s son KT Rama Rao tweeted that it’s ‘classic comedy.’

Nehru-Gandhi family rule has created a record of sorts and the current scion of the family is now in line aspiring to become the Prime Minister. However, he thinks his family’s rule, his dynasty’s hold over India, is okay, but if others try to set up the same its bad because it would be a ‘family rule.’ And here it is only a four-year-old development after Telangana was formed in 2014. 

Ironically, KCR was with the Congress and the Congress-led UPA coalition government had carved out Telangana from the larger Andhra Pradesh state.

Strange are the ways of politics, after all!