Bengaluru: Promotion of Family Interests, Money Power are Highlights of Council Elections

Bengaluru: Each major political party accuses others of indulging in favouritism, nepotism, caste bias, dynasty politics and using money power in selecting candidates to the legislative houses.

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But in reality, no party is an exception. Much is being said about the Congress party holding on to the apron-strings of the Nehru family.

Same is being said about the total hold of the Gowda family on the JD(S), which has earned the dubious tag of being a father-and-son party.

But a glance at a list of politicians at the national and state levels, irrespective of parties, reflects the same picture. In promoting their family interests, the politicians in Bihar, Tamil Nadu and other states have not lagged behind either.

In the past decades, all three mainstream parties in the state, Congress, BJP and JD(S) had sidelined their own parties’ loyal workers, thus making way to get industrialists and moneybags elected to the Rajya Sabha. Now the malaise has spread to the legislative council too.

Rajya Sabha and legislative councils in the states are expected to be a circle of wise men, true to their labels as ‘upper houses’. Their responsibility is to complement the deliberations missed out in the lower house.

Just as the other arms and wings of the democratic structure of the county have been degraded, the upper houses too have lost their dignity and justification for existence during the past decades.

They have, in most part, become rehabilitation centres for retired politicians or those rejected in the direct elections.

In more recent years, they have become springboards for entrepreneurs and moneybags to strengthen their base by using political leverage. The results of the elections declared on Dec 30 show an alarming trend. Of all the 25 winners and MLCs-to-be, only ten have been full-time politicians.

The other fifteen are entrepreneurs also doubling as politicians, realtors, movie producers and the like. They include Mahantesh Kavatagimath of the BJP from Belagavi, K C Kondaiah of Congress from Ballari, Kantaraj of JD(S) from Tumakuru, Narayanaswamy of Congress from Bengaluru urban, Vijay Singh of Congress from Bidar, Pradeep Shettar of the BJP from Hubballi-Dharwad, Gopalaswamy of Congress from Hassan and Dharmasena of Congress from Mysuru, who are well-established entrepreneurs.

Besides, C R Manohar of JD(S) from Kolar, Sandesh Nagaraj of JD(S) from Mysuru and Raghu Achar of Congress from Chitradurga are not only real estate tycoons but also movie producers.

On the family politics front, no party is an exception. From Kodagu, Mandepanda ( M P) Suja Kushalappa had filed his nomination as the official candidate of the BJP. As a dummy, the party had also fielded his brother, M P Sunil Subramani.

Suja’s nomination got rejected because of a criminal case pending against him, which enabled the dummy candidate to win. Either way Madikeri MLA and former minister M P Ranjan Appachu is the winner, since both of them are his brothers.

Former chief minister and present leader of the opposition Jagadish Shettar too has something to celebrate. His brother Pradeep Shettar has won from the dual constituency in Dharwad, also of the BJP.

Energy minister D K Shivakumar’s close relative S Ravi has won from the Bengaluru rural constituency as a Congress member.

Another former chief minister Dharam Singh too should be happy. His son Vijay Singh, also of Congress, has won the Bidar seat. Dharam Singh’s another son, Ajay Singh, is already an MLA.

As the saying goes, ‘Hamam mein sab nange hain’. All one can do is stick to the principle, ‘If you can’t beat them, join them.’

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