New Delhi: Indian politics in 2019 is witnessing shades of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The King of Hastinapur: Dhritrashtra, the father of Duryodhana, who was not just physically blind but was blinded by love for his son, and his shortcomings.
Uddhav Thackeray, who is known to have spewed venom against Congress, called up Sonia Gandhi on Monday, seeking support for forming government in Maharashtra. The wider belief is that it was guided by his ‘putra moh’ for the first Thackeray who contested election and now wants to be the Chief Minister: his son Aditya. While comparing Aditya with Duryodhana will be unjustified, Uddhav’s blind love for the Thackeray junior is reminiscent of Dhristarashtrian son-obsession. But he is not alone.
1. Aditya Thackeray:
The first-ever Thackeray who fought an election and won was high on expectations of becoming the Chief Minister, in turns with BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis. Thackerays are known to be the power centre that once decided who would become Maharashtra’s Chief minister. But neither it is the era of Balasaheb, nor do they have the flourish of such ideological grandstanding.
Hence, the party that accused Congress and NCP government of ‘Ravan raj’ wants to do business together, all for making Aditya Thackeray the CM. Aditya in a tweet on February 28, 2014 demanded to “destroy” the two parties. But after 2019 election, Sanjay Raut was made to take stands, quite contrary to its stated positions just to ensure Uddhav’s ‘putra moh’ doesn’t go in vain.
2. Rahul Gandhi:
The 49-year old ‘youth leader’ whose launch and relaunch into the political arena ensured editorials but little electoral benefit for his Congress party that was reduced to 44 in 2014, and gained just 8 more in 2019, in spite of loaded corruption allegations over Rafale fighter jets, is another glaring example of how love for son can be so blinding for our political class.
Rahul Gandhi went into an undeclared sabbatical post 2014 drubbing. Post 2019 rout, after he adamantly stepped down from the party chief’s position, he made headlines for his many trips abroad, which are claimed to be for meditation purposes. Son of Sonia Gandhi, brother of Priyanka Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi couldn’t realise his own potential, engulfed by such relationship hangovers.
3. Chirag Paswan:
This November, Chirag Paswan was elected as the national president of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). His father Ram Vilas Paswan said Chirag was elected “unanimously” by LJP’s national executive. So does that mean Paswan senior will no longer be the head of LJP? To this simple question of media, a baffled Ram Vilas Paswan said both will work closely.
Paswan junior started his career in Bollywood. Without much success, he shifted his focus to politics. The LJP joined the NDA ahead of 2014 general election, bringing electoral relevance for the party. But to date, there hasn’t been any major decision taken by Chirag Paswan so far that can be called a ‘success’.
4. Tejashwi Yadav:
The younger son of Lalu Prasad Yadav who inherited his father’s legacy was relatively more successful. During the JD-U-RJD alliance, the Yadav junior was made the Deputy Chief Minister. But ever since Nitish left the alliance to go back to the NDA fold and the massive win of BJP with 303 seats in 2019 general election, Tejashwi Yadav went into oblivion. Even when Bihar was facing one of the worst floods this year and even BJP was out to criticise Nitish Kumar, Tejashwi’s absence underscored the opposition vacuum in Bihar.
Very recently, after meeting his father in jail, the son of Lalu Prasad, who carries an image of mass leader with rural connect, celebrated his birthday, 30,000 feet above the sea level, on a chartered flight.
5. Akhilesh Yadav:
It was November, 2015 and Akhilesh, the relatively more successful of the lot wanted to say “Happy Birthday” to his father, the Samajwadi Party patriarch, Mulayam Singh Yadav, in style.
After a park was named after Janeshwar Mishra to usher in Mulayam’s 77th birthday, the senior Yadav had this to say, “In the form of Janeshwar Mishra Park, Akhilesh has given to Lucknow and UP what no one else has ever. This is a historic park, one which will tell the world we, as UPites and Indians, are next to none. I am also happy this park is named after Janeshwar. He loved Akhilesh dearly and wanted that one day he would become chief minister of UP. That dream has come true.”