National Interest: One dynasty dimming
The inability to counter, or now challenge, the rise of these dynasties is the Congress party’s biggest failure. It has also, therefore, become the greatest game-changer in our politics. Each one of these dynasties is represented by a strong local leader who has tasted and exercised elected power. Each one has learnt the art of leveraging his regional power to grab a share of the national pie. They have also learnt that real clout, and money, is now in the states. This was explained to me most honestly by H.D. Kumaraswamy, Deve Gowda’s son, when he was briefly chief minister of Karnataka. “My father,” he said, “committed a great mistake in becoming prime minister of India.” In return for that job for a few months, he said, his father lost control over the state of Karnataka. “We all have to learn from the DMK,” he said, “keep your hold in your own state, and then negotiate with whoever leads the coalition in Delhi for a share of national power.” The Gandhis haven’t found an answer to this. Nor can they complain about it, because they were the ones who established the principle of a political party as a closely held family concern.
In fact, so lazy has the Congress leadership been with its politics that while