Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah in an interview to a news channel last month justified the dynasty rule by claiming that if big businessmen like Tatas and Ambanis can handover their companies to their heirs then why can’t politicians transfer their legacy to their kith and kin?
What Omar has said could be his personal opinion but it doesn’t mean that every politician thinks like Omar. It seems that former J&K chief minister needs to be told that there is a difference between a political party and the big companies owned by business tycoons.
Politics and business are two different fields. People join politics for serving the masses and not for accumulating wealth, while the business houses are meant for earning profits and building empires.
History stands testimony to the fact that no businessman has ever become a good politician. Leaders have always emerged from grassroots without any expectation of making any monetary gains.
Leaders have always fought for the cause and rights of the people. Most of the great leaders like Mahatama Gandhi, Valibhai Patel, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Bhagat Singh, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Modi didn’t pass on their legacy to their kith and kin, nor did their NOKs ever claimed the ownership of the parties that were formed by them.
Jammu and Kashmir has had a chequered history. Whosoever came into power in J&K after 1947 made every attempt to pass on the baton to his kith and kin.
Late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah passed on his mantle to his son Dr Farooq Abdullah, while Dr Abdullah handed over the command of National Conference to his son Omar Abdullah. Many NC leaders followed the footsteps of their bosses by nominating their sons as their heirs in the party.
Similarly another former J&K chief minister and president of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed passed on his legacy to his daughter Mehbooba Mufti, who roped in her non-political brother Tasaduq Mufti and made him a minister in her cabinet.
In a nutshell the family raaj in Jammu and Kashmir has been a part and parcel of the politics. The political parties have been run like private limited companies and as corporate houses. Money has always been a part and parcel of the politics in J&K and has always played an important part in forming the governments; these dynasties represent luxury brands not aspirations of common Kashmir’s.
No one can deny the fact that National Conference founder and former J&K chief minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah had a mass following in Kashmir. After his death his son and grandson took control of the party which was founded by him but none of them could even touch the benchmarks that were set by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. His party was inherited by his heirs but they couldn’t do justice with it.
Politicians, who believe that they can own everything which has been left behind by their ancestors, need to change their mindset and understand that the time has changed and in “New India” led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi everything is decided on merit.
Past eight years of PM Modi’s rule have sent a clear message that every citizen is equal and no one is born to rule.
Policies followed by PM Modi have exposed the political parties run by the dynasts to hilt. The debacle of Congress at the national level has proven beyond doubt that people are no more interested in king’s son becoming a king.
Former J&K chief minister, Omar Abdullah needs to wake up and realizse that he cannot win the elections because his grandfather was a legendary leader and he left behind his party for Omar to reap the benefits.
If Omar wants to become a leader, first he should clear the air on whether he would contest the forthcoming assembly elections in J&K or not. If he has decided not to contest then he has no right to deliver sermons on the rights of people and other issues.
Former J&K chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are aware of the fact that J&K has turned into a Union Territory and the new J&K chief minister will have to work under the Lieutenant Governor appointed by the Centre. It seems both the leaders don’t want to share the power that’s why they have dropped enough hints to stay away from polls.
Both the leaders should understand that the politics is about serving the people and not only about enjoying the power. Political parties are no corporate companies. These are formed after like-minded people join hands to fight for the cause of people and not for money.
Any leader whom his party men find competent can lead the party and it’s not necessary that the party will be owned by the kith and kin of a leader who founded the party. Omar needs to understand this difference and then talk.
Sheikh Khalid Jehangir is a former Journalist, Author, Politician and Secretary General of International Centre for Peace Studies ( ICPS )
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.