Power politics dents kinship considerations

Nationalist Congress President (NCP) Sharad Pawar with party leader Ajit Pawar. (PTI Photo)

Blood is thicker than water but power politics has many times blurred even the considerations of bloodlines.

So when Ajit Pawar of NCP battling a legacy war in Pawar family took a dramatic stand, choosing to back the rival BJP in government formation, he was not doing anything unusual in the nation’s politics.  

Only thing is that he was not as lucky as many others were. Most of such fights led to the changing of political stripe by the loser side.

 The most recent example is of Dushyant Chautala in Haryana.

As a battle of legacy broke out in the party of Chaudhary Devi Lal and Om Prakash Chautala between Abhya Chautala and his nephew Dushyant, the young MP formed a new party Jannayak Janata Party. Once dubbed “Bachcha Party” by opponents, it won 10 out of 90 assembly seats and became Deputy Chief Minister in BJPs’ Manohar Lal Khattar.  JJP’s entire election campaign was based on anti-Khattar and anti- BJP rhetoric.

Chautala’s parent party Indian National Lok Dal was relegated to the fourth position and Dushyant established himself as the real heir of the Devi Lal- Chautala legacy. 

In another Janata party offshoot Samajwadi Party of UP, Akhilesh Yadav in 2016 took on his all-powerful uncle Shivpal Yadav, who was controlling the organization.  Though his father Mulayam Singh Yadav initially opposed him, finally the father-son joined hands, leading to total sidelining and marginalization of uncle Shivpal Yadav.

In neighbouring Bihar, jailed Lalu Prasad’s two sons Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav have been frequently engaging in a tug of war. While the round one seems to have been won by Tejashwi the former Deputy CM, the embers of the family feud are far from cooling down.

In Shiromani Akali Dal it was between son Sukhbir Badal and nephew Manpreet Badal over the political legacy of Parkash Singh Badal. Manpreet after floating own party first, finally joined Congress while Sukhbir Badal controlled SAD.

Then there was this classic father-in-law versus son-in-law rivalry--NT Ramarao versus Chandrababu Naidu in Andhra Pradesh in 1995 that gradually saw the power matrix of TDP gradually and firmly coming into the hands of the son-in-law as NTR’s other wife Lakshami Parvathi and sons were sidelined.

 In Tamil Nadu, family feuds broke out twice in DMK in 2001 after the sidelining of party patriarch M Karunanidhi’s nephew Murasoli Maran and rise in ranks of son M K Stalin. It again raised heads in the form of sibling rivalry between Stalin and his brother M K Alagiri in 2014, which reached a climax last year. Sparring still continues.

In Telangana, it was between K Chandrashekhar Rao’s son KT Ramarao and nephew Harish Rao of Telangana Rashtriya Samiti

Other family fights of Maharasthra

Before this Sharad Pawar- Ajit Pawar saga played out, the feud between Shiv Sena supreme Bala Saheb Thackeray and his flamboyant nephew Raj Thackeray made headlines for years after 2006 when the nephew controlling organization affairs got angry at an elevation of son Udhav Thackeray at his cost and formed a new party Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. Sena. MNS, though initially inflicted damage to Sena, ultimately bombed at the political box office.  

Prominent OBC leader of Maharashtra Gopinath Munde’s family had also witnessed a legacy war between his daughter Pankaja Munde and nephew Dhananjay Munde when contrary to the popular perception that Dhananjya will inherit the political legacy of an uncle, the latter brought his daughter in the forefront in 2009. The rivalry continues till date with both having defeated each other once in last two Parliamentary polls. While Pankaja is in BJP, Dhananjay is in NCP.

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