There was a time when only one political family in the country was criticised by all for promoting 'dynastic' rule.
Ironically, the most vociferous critics of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty are now going overboard in pushing their own respective dynasties in Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state.
Interestingly, it was none other than Mulayam Singh Yadav, who took the lead in deviating from the path shown by his ideologue and top socialist of his times -- Ram Manohar Lohia -- who was known for his candid and loud views against both Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. At the very first opportunity, Mulayam pushed his son Akhilesh to don the mantle as his political successor and chief minister.
Taking the cue from him are his sworn rivals in the Bhartiya Janata Party, whose leaders could never tire of flaying not only Mulayam but also the Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi clan for promoting their respective families.
The other day, when BJP chief Rajnath Singh cleared the names of members of BJP’s new UP state executive, on top of the list was his son Pankaj Singh as the state general secretary. Having been a secretary in the past, his father’s elevation to the top job as the national president gave him an automatic jump to a more important position.
The next prominent name in the list was that of Rajveer Singh, son of BJP veteran Kalyan Singh, who recently made a re-entry into the party after being shown the door twice. Known for not having imbibed a single good quality of his father, who at one point of time was known for his forthrightness until he got trapped in several infamous controversies, Rajveer has been named as one of the vice-presidents. Anything lower than that was not acceptable to him. While arguing his case, Kalyan Singh had sought to draw the party leadership’s attention to his CV, which included a stint as cabinet minister that gave him more infamy than credit.
But Kalyan Singh’s insistence could not be ignored at a time when the party was struggling to recollect its bearings and his support base of Lodhi backwards was considered crucial for improving the party’s tally at the next Lok Sabha elections, not very far away.
If Rajnath Singh and Kalyan Singh could go ahead with their dynastic aspirations, how could veteran Lalji Tandon be left behind? His son Gopalji was made vice president in the new executive. After all, he too had a stint as general secretary and in any case he was not ready to compromise for anything less than what was given on a platter to Kalyan Singh’s son.
Premlata Katiyar, who had also been a prominent minister in different BJP regimes in UP, also ensured the appointment of her daughter Neelima as state secretary. Another party veteran Kalraj Misra, whose son was not inclined towards public life because of his personal problems, got a protege Vijay Bahadur Pathak inducted as the party spokesman.
Apart from making the 105-member executive Lucknow-centric, Rajnath Singh has simply ignored the rightful claims of well-known and seasoned party leaders like Hriday Narain Dixit, who has been sidelined from the key position of chief spokesman. Likewise, Lucknow Mayor Dinesh Sharma, who has set a record not only by his two successive victories but also by taking an unprecedented lead of 1.75 lakh votes at the last mayoral poll, has not found place in the new state executive.