I feel bad for Rahul Gandhi sometimes. There is something about him that just doesn’t seem to fit. Unlike other sons of politicians, who have embraced politics, have mass appeal with the public and are riding high on their father’s connections, Gandhi consistently appears disconnected from politics and people. He always seems to be just a little out of place and a little bit out of touch.
From Kashmir to Tamil Nadu, we have examples of sons of politicians who have succeeded in connecting with people and continuing the dynastic tradition of Indian politics.
Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is the most recent successful son currently riding out the legacy of his deceased father, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy. Despite being in custody and facing allegations of embezzlement and disproportionate assets, his recently formed party just won 15 out of 18 assembly seats last week in Andhra Pradesh.
Akhilesh Yadav, son of Mulayam Singh Yadav, became the youngest Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in March this year. He has been tremendously successful in appealing to people and bringing new members in his party. His success and impressive rise is remarkable. He is so popular with the people that it’s even rubbed off on his wife who just won an unopposed Lok Sabha seat from Kannauj.
RahulGandhi on a five-day-visit to Karnataka. (PTI)
Omar Abdullah was also the youngest to become Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir in 2009. Since his entry into politics in the late nineties, he has remained mostly popular. Born into that state’s best known political families, Abdullah appears at great ease in the business of politics despite having to deal with many thorny issues not prevalent in the rest of India.
M. K. Stalin, son of M. Karunanidhi in Tamil Nadu too carries on the family business well. He is very much a part of Tamil Nadu politics. Partly self-made and partly propped up, Stalin is a veteran politician and a fixture in local Chennai politics having been the Mayor of Chennai for a number of years.
All four of the preceding sons have taken to the family business like the proverbial ducks to water. They seem to willingly embrace and thrive on politics. Rahul Gandhi on the other hand appears deep down to be a shy and sensitive guy. An introvert perhaps. Not cut out for the hurly burly enterprise of shouldering the responsibilities of millions let alone a billion. What explains best Rahul Gandhi’s failure to arrive is the website rahulgandhiachievments.com. The site description is: A Comprehensive achievements guide on Rahul Gandhi - The Next Prime Minister of India. The site opens up to a blank page.
It’s a tragedy for children who do not have a choice about who they can be when they grow up. It’s hard to be an individual in India. Family and societal pressures push you and corner you and stifle you in so many ways. Perhaps, Rahul Gandhi needs to break free and do what he really wants to do as his heart doesn’t seem to be in politics and the people haven’t taken to him either.