A big song and dance is being made of the so-called dynastic overreach of the Gandhi/Nehru family by the powers that be in the BJP. As if Jawaharlal Nehru, like a phoenix, rose from his ashes and “anointed” first his daughter Indira Gandhi, then his grandson Rajiv Gandhi and now his great-grandson Rahul Gandhi. As if Indira Gandhi had no trial by fire and, by sheer guts and the genius of her political acumen, did not squash the Syndicate of S Nijalingappa, K Kamaraj, Atulya Ghosh, S K Patil and N Sanjeeva Reddy to form the Congress (I). As if Rajiv Gandhi did not win Lok Sabha elections from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh to repeatedly become an elected MP. And as if Rahul Gandhi parachuted down from nowhere to become Congress president and did not, like his father, actually fight and win repeated elections to the Lok Sabha.
As if Anurag Thakur is not the son of the former chief minister of Himachal Pradesh and did not descend on the political scene because of the dynastic groundwork laid out by his father. As if Dushyant Singh was a local grass roots level worker and not the son of the chief minister of Rajasthan when he stood for the Lok Sabha from his mother’s pocket borough of Dholpur. As if Rajbir Singh and now his son Sandeep inherited no dynastic legacy from chief minister and now Governor Kalyan Singh.
As if Maharashtra Minister Pankaja Munde and her sister Pritam and their cousin Poonam Mahajan did not inherit the dynastic cloak of their late fathers, Gopinath Munde and Pramod Mahajan respectively. Just as if Varun Gandhi was not appointed a general secretary of the BJP because he is the son of Menaka Gandhi, who is the widow of Sanjay Gandhi, who was the son of Indira Gandhi and the grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru.
That is why Amit Shah and company are continuously condemning Yashodhara Raje Scindia and Vasundhara Raje Scindia because they inherited the dynastic legacy of their mother, Raj Mata Vijaya Raje Scindia. Or do they? Just as they had no link up with Naveen Patnaik and condemned him as the dynastic inheritor of the legacy of Biju Patnaik. And had no truck with Chandrababu Naidu because he was the political inheritor of his father-in-law, N T Rama Rao. But didn’t they?
Just as they condemn Akhilesh Yadav and Dimple Yadav and Dharmendra Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav and Ramgopal Yadav and his son Akshay Yadav as the benefactors of the patriarchal umbrella of Mulayam Singh Yadav. Or do they? Just as they attack M K Stalin, M K Alagiri and Kanimozhi for being the political inheritors of Karunanidhi. Or do they? And just as they shun the Shiv Sena because Uddhav Thackeray took the reins from his later father, Balasaheb Thackeray and he is encouraging his son, Aditya, to come to centre stage of Shiv Sena politics. Or do they?
Just as they constantly berate Sharad Pawar for encouraging his daughter, Supriya Sule, to benefit from his clout. And they criticise Lalu Prasad for encouraging his wife, Rabri Devi, his daughter Misa and then his sons, Tej Pratap and Tejasvi to enter politics centrestage. Or do they?
Just as Rajnath Singh’s son, Pankaj Singh, doesn’t mention his father in his election posters. As Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s son Kartikey has no intention of following any dynastic assertion. Or doesn’t he?
Just as they kept Omar Abdullah out of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government because he was the son and grandson of Jammu & Kashmir chief ministers, Farooq Abdullah and Sheikh Abdullah respectively. And similarly, they refused to make Ajit Singh a minister in any BJP-led NDA government because he inherited the political legacy of his father, Charan Singh. Or did they?
Just as they shun the Badal family of Punjab because not just son but daughter-in-law and several other relatives held positions of power. As they now refuse to entertain a Badal daughter-in-law as minister in the current BJP government. Or have they?
Just as they repeatedly took pot shots at the generations of Chautalas because they dared inherit the political legacy of Chaudhary Devi Lal. Or did they? Just as they discarded Agatha Sangma because she was the daughter of late Purno Sangma. And today, they have nothing to do with Chief Minister Conrad Sangma because he, too, is a son of Purno Sangma. Or don’t they?
Just as they joined a government with Mehbooba Mufti because they believed she inherited nothing from Mufti Mohammad Sayed.
Interestingly they have never hit out at Jyotiraditya Scindia for stepping into the shoes of the late Madhav Rao Scindia; or Jitin Prasada for inheriting the mantle of late Jitendra Prasada; or Sachin Pilot for fighting the good fight of the late Rajesh Pilot or Jagan Reddy wanting to inherit the chief ministership his late father Rajasekhara Reddy once had. So, why the different yardstick for Rahul Gandhi?
There is rightly a saying in English about “people in glass houses”. Does the BJP seriously have the right to cast the first stone?