In their parents, children of doctors as well as people in the armed forces have natural role models at home. Wouldn’t the same then hold true for children of politicians as well? Yes. But what matters is the road walked by the progeny to step into their parents’ shoes.
The child of an army General still has to get through his Services Selection Board (SSB) interview to get into the National Defence Academy (NDA). Children of doctors have to slog through a minimum of five years of under-graduate studies (or more) — and this is true for even those who might have had the wherewithal to pay astronomical sums of money as capitation (or other creatively used nomenclature) fees.
The problem perhaps arises when the political scions get rewards too easily.
Leaving aside the Rahul Mahajan episode (where my only peeve is BJP president Rajnath Singh’s alleged announcement of planning to induct Rahul as an office-bearer in the party’s youth wing, when subsequent events have shown that his drug problems were common knowledge already), some other cases come to mind of sons of politicians who even when they had it all, lost it for themselves and for their fathers. And some who got away with it.
Here are some of them:
1. Om Prakash Chautala: He became the chief minister of Haryana, when papa Devi Lal moved to the national stage in politics. Chautala then had to contest the assembly bye-election from Meham constituency. His opponent, Anand Mohan Dangi. What otherwise would have been a cake-walk for Chautala — with Devi Lal (and the then Janata Dal) riding a popularity wave — turned into one of the ugliest snapshots of electoral violence in India. An over-zealous Chautala and his supporters (including his son) tried to capture booths and in the process, the police (on Chautala’s side) ended up smashing a few people to pulp. The frightening brutality being captured by the media. The election was countermanded/cancelled (I don’t quite remember the technical status) and when the re-election was finally held, Chautala lost!
2. Jagat Singh: He had a narrow escape when he got away scot-free first with a less than smooth separation from his wife Natasha, and then her death (in March 2002) under mysterious circumstances in a five-star hotel in Delhi, allegedly (though not proved conclusively) by jumping off the terrace. (Incidentally his sister and Natwar Singh’s daughter, Ritu, also committed suicide a little while later) When the Iraqi oil-for-food scam hit the headlines after the Volcker Committee report was published, Jagat Singh became a more ‘known’ face. I don’t know about others, but I for one had no doubt in my mind about Jagat Singh’s involvement. Natwar Singh should have resigned immediately to take the heat off, what was soon turning into the UPA government’s biggest embarrassment. However, the old man turned brazen, and as the subsequent events showed, lost it all in the power sweepstakes — with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) actively (or should I say ‘seemingly actively’ since we are talking politics) on his and his son’s trail. He currently writes a column in the Deccan Chronicle which, going by the blurbs (since I don’t read it) isn’t much to read about in any case!
3. Sukhbir Badal: Being the son of the former chief minister of Punjab, Prakash Singh Badal, Sukhbir, could very well attribute the corruption charges against him as political vendetta that has become the hallmark of politics in Punjab. But while actual case facts may never reach us, think of this — papa is the chief minister, and that too at a time when a politically friendly NDA government is ruling at the centre — you rise as a power centre and an extra-constitutional one. You make as many friends as foes. Haven’t heard the last on it though
4. Tejaswi & Tej Pratap Yadav: Laloo’s sons, while biding their time before they get into their ‘family business’ politics, reaped rewards of pita-shri’s largesse. While Tejaswi won the Bihar ‘Khel Kirti Samman’ for God knows what, Tej Pratap was made the captain of the Bihar state under-14 cricket team — Laloo being the head of Bihar Cricket Association! Here is an interesting but badly written account of careers paths of Laloo’s progeny. And another one here about the sons of ex-cricketers as well.
5. Amit Jogi: A simple Google search on this son of the former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi will give you a perspective on the number of controversies he’s embroiled in! Bribery, sleazy sting, citizenship-visa problem, fake SC/ST certificate, a murder charge — the works! And this for someone who apparently studied at the prestigious St. Stephen’s College and Jawahar Lal Nehru University in Delhi. Some more ‘glory tales’ here. After he dragged her name in an abortive attempt to buy MLAs after the last elections, Ajit, who was in the good books of Sonia Gandhi till then, became a persona non grata in and around 10 Janpath. It was after several months (and a crippling accident) that he managed to get an audience with the Congress high command, to recover a little bit of lost ground.
That’s it for now. Sometime in future, I will try and examine the following:
Omar Abdullah / Farooq Abdullah / Sheikh Abdullah
Rahul Gandhi / Rajiv Gandhi / Sanjay Gandhi / Indira Gandhi / Jawahar Lal Nehru
Manvendra Singh / Jaswant Singh
Sachin Pilot / Rajesh Pilot
Mukund Deora / Murli Deora
H D Kumaraswamy / H D Deve Gowda
Stalin / M K Karunanidhi
Priya Dutt / Sunil Dutt
Akhilesh Yadav / Mulayam Singh Yadav
K Muraleedharan / K Karunakaran
Navin Patnaik / Biju Patnaik
Riteish Deshmukh / Vilasrao Deshmukh
Sandeep Dikshit / Sheila Dikshit
As far as I can see, there are some interesting insights waiting to be explored.