United State’s first president, George Washington, although very popular, chose not to try to be elected for a third term. This suggested that two terms were enough for any president. Washington’s two-term limit became the unwritten rule for all Presidents until 1940; amendment to the American constitution was made thereafter. No President, with the exception of Roosevelt, had more than two terms. Amendment was made with the intent of preventing the perpetuation of incumbent political power and also to prevent the concentration, consolidation, or perpetuation of political power within the family members.
Although the likes of Kennedy and Bush dynasties are still in power, in America and world over, Devegouda dynasty, in Karnataka, Pawar dynasty in Maharashtra and Yadav dynasty in Central India, have re-defined “dynastic politics”! Every other member of the family is in position of power. While few of Indian politicians have carefully nurtured a constituency to ensure perpetuation of family power, Devegouda is nurturing the entire Mandya-Hassan belt for his large family. This is how politics is practised in India, shorn of all scruples. Power is dangerous, because those who hold it begin to think they can do whatever they choose. Relinquishing power is one of the hardest things to do. Yet, as the old joke has it, graveyards are full of people whose tombstones read: “They thought they were indispensable.” The 16th century Emperor Charles V who voluntarily abdicated as Holy Roman Emperor and retired to a monastery is a contrarian example.
BJP has done well not to allot tickets to veterans over 75 but it should go beyond to make necessary amendments to constitution to eradicate dynastic politics. Modi, so far, has done well to ensure an end to the tyrannical rule of the Congress; it has jolted them out of complacency. The Congress, with its back-to-back electoral victories, was almost convinced of its own infallibility. In ancient Rome, when a successful leader enjoyed a triumphal march, a slave stood behind him and whispered in his ear: “Remember you are human.”
BJP should, when it returns to “responsibility (let’s not call it power)”, bring in legislations that “guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service for all the citizens”. That, perhaps, will be the true test of patriotism and show clearly the intent of nation re-building.
The democracy is in danger; defend it with the might of your vote!