Thursday, September 3, 2009

YSR Succession: One Must Earn Power and Not Land it as Family Legacy

THE DEATH of Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy is sad indeed, but sadder seems to be the sudden pitch for making his son, Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, the new chief minister.

The Hindu report, by my old colleague, S Nagesh Kumar -- who was with Indian Express in the mid eighties when I was in Hyderabad-- today refers to this move by a section of the legislators who claim that there are around a hundred MLAs who are fans of the younger Reddy. Another report in the inside pages tell us that these gentlemen are now threatening a split in the party if the claims of the son is not accepted by the Congress high command, even before the body of the senior leader, who was one of the most successful Congress politicians in Andhra Pradesh for many decades, has been cremated!

I do not think this is the time to think about the legitimacy of the claims of Jagan Mohan Reddy, a 36-year- old Parliament Member, who runs a new media company with newspapers and television channel in Telugu, which came into being during the tenure of YSR who came to power in 2004.

But the trend is unmistakable and disturbing. It goes against the legacy of democracy and democratic principles in succession. But the Congress itself is to blame, as this party has, over many decades, converted itself into a family concern, a private property of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

The benefit of that legacy is now being claimed by other regional satraps, and our own K Karunakaran was one of the early practitioners of this Doctrine of Family Legacy when he was powerful enough to make his son an MP and then KPCC president and minister and all that. Let us also remember that it was Defence Minister A K Antony, then KPCC president and now a member of the Congress high command’s core committee, who helped Karunakaran to get away with it as he himself nominated Muralidharan to the Congress list of candidates for the Lok Sabha as the leader had gone for a leak…!

Now the story has come full circle. Those less fortunate guys who had to give way to the Leader’s son way back in eighties are now in control of the KPCC and Muralidharan is out in the cold, trying to get back into the party. He wants a simple membership and nothing more but the party leaders here do not want him at all despite all the pressures his frail father could exert with the high command.

I do feel there is lesson in it for Jagan Mohan Reddy and all other highly ambitious Congress siblings (and of course to non-Congress siblings too): You earn power and not get it as a family legacy which you cannot keep.

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