Sons of political leaders across the country seem to be assuming greater say in the fortunes of their respective political parties.
The run-up to the recently concluded Telangana State Assembly elections saw K.T. Rama Rao (son of KCR), assume the responsibility of bringing his party (TRS) into power for the second time. Following his party’s stupendous victory, he was promoted as the Party’s Working President. There is a perception that the young leader was elevated to the highest rank (despite the existence of senior members) in the party because he is the son of Chief Minister KCR.
“Being someone’s son or daughter will only serve as an entry pass. When I got into the party 12 years back, I entered as my father’s son. But later, I won four elections with huge majority. Yes, there are seniors in the party, but when people give you a mandate and party gives you an opportunity, it is up to you to demonstrate your leadership qualities to inspire. Several challenges have been thrown at me, and I believe I have come out triumphant by successful leading various election campaigns. So I have proven myself,” KTR, who was speaking at a press conference, said.
In another classic case of ‘son-rise’, a year ago, Rahul Gandhi was elected as the Working President of the Congress Party, a move many felt had been inevitable and announcing it had been just a matter of time.
Last year also saw another young leader and MLC, Nara Lokesh, inducted as the Cabinet Minister for IT in Andhra Pradesh while former Union minister Ajit Singh’s son Jayant Chaudhary was promoted as the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) vice-president.
Prod Lokesh about the ‘son-rise’ phenomenon, and he says that it is challenging to keep up with the legacy. “It is indeed a blessing to be born as NTR’s grandson and Chandrababu Naidu’s son, but that doesn’t mean that I take things for granted. Family legacy will only serve as a platform, but later you have to prove yourself. So it is my responsibility to ensure that I live up to expectations,” he says.
There is enough indication of how various political parties across the country are rooting for GenNext (successors) who are slowly but surely exercising greater command in the party and government affairs.
Interestingly, a couple of days back, Tej Pratap Yadav, elder son on Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad, had dropped hints, saying, that given a chance, he was game to take on the mantle of leading the party.
Nadendla Manohar, former Speaker, Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, and son of Nadendla Bhaskara Rao, former Chief Minister of the State, has no qualms in welcoming successors in leadership positions. “It’s a good sign if parties can nurture young leaders of the country, but only if they win the election,” he says.
Dynasty, then, is the great leveler. At the end of the day, leaders have got to do what his voters also have to do: look out for their children.
Journalist, political commentator, author Paranjoy Guha Thakurta feels that dynasty politics looks to be an ‘inevitable consequence’.
He thinks, “Most of the population in India is in the mid-20s, so it is essential that political parties project young people as leaders to inspire the young electorate. As for the dynasty politics, it is an inevitable consequence and a common phenomenon across many parties in the world.”