Rise of neo-feudalism in land of democracy

Nagaraja Iyengar cited examples of H D Deve Gowda, Yeddyurappa and Siddaramaiah to present how kin of leaders are rising up, leaving the common folk unable to participate in the democratic process.

A section of the people in the region feels that it is unfortunate that neo-feudalism is taking shape in the land where democracy took its origin in the year 1881, for the first time in the Indian sub-continent, under X Chamaraja Wadiyar.

“The Prajaprathinidhi Sabha, which had representatives of the taxpaying farmers and traders, had a say in the governance-related their respective vocation. Besides, the representatives guided the then dewans and the government officials in general administration. They were a set of respected people both in the society and the government. Then Sabha member S C Mallaiah’s son S M Krishna also became a prominent politician,” said Nagaraja Iyengar, a History lecturer.

“Unfortunately, in various Assembly constituencies in the Mysuru region, kin of various prominent leaders have been contesting the elections. Many leaders have won the polls six, seven and eight times. Some have been contesting continuously for over the 10th time. If a leader or his or her family holds a particular constituency or even a district for decades together, how can other people participate in the democratic process,” he asked.

“The list of the kin of prominent leaders contesting the polls is quite long in the region. Besides H D Deve Gowda’s sons H D Kumaraswamy and H D Revanna, daughters-in-law and grandchildren are also aspirants. Gowda’s relatives D C Thammanna and H P Mahesh are also into politics. As if Siddaramaiah’s son Dr Yathindra was not enough, B S Yeddyurappa’s son B Y Vijayendra is pitted against him. Yeddyurappa’s elder son B Y Raghavendra is already a senior politician. Late K S Puttannaiah’s son Darshan is also contesting. H C Mahadevappa’s son Sunil Bose and S M Krishna’s daughter were also aspirants. The family of the late governor B Rachaiah, his brothers, nephews and son are in politics since the first election in 1952. Azeez Sait and his son Tanveer Sait have represented Narasimharaja constituency for over four decades. These are just a few examples,” said Mahadeva Prasad a chronicler.

“Earlier, there was only one family, the erstwhile royal family. The request of Dewan Poornaiah for hereditary dewanship was turned off by the then rulers. Now, neo-royal families have increased and they expect loyalty of party workers, supporters, well-wishers and common voters. Rarely common people get a chance to contest and win. Still, all winners and their nearest rivals happen to be moneyed people,” he said.

“Whoever is the chief minister of Karnataka, the Mysuru region, has always played a prominent role in state politics. Out of 22 CMs, so far, six are from the region. Besides, two leaders from Mysuru district and one each from Mandya and Hassan have become chief ministers of the state. Even though B S Yeddyurappa of the BJP became the chief minister as a representative of Shivamogga district, he is a native of Mandya district. H D Kumaraswamy is also a native of Hardanahalli in Hassan district, even though he was elected from Ramanagaram. It is a good sign, taken into account the prevailing democratic politics in India. But, should not the representatives of other regions get an opportunity to become CM? Should not there be an equal distribution of ‘opportunity to serve the people’ to avoid imbalance,” he asked.

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