Of political dynasties in Meghalaya

Much has been written about the number of candidates for the coming from the same family and contesting the election to the next legislative assembly scheduled for the 23rd of this month. Leading the pack is chief minister Dr Mukul Sangma whose wife and brother are both contesting from different constituencies. The Speaker, Charles Pyngrope and his son David Nongrum are also contesting. The two sons of PA Sangma are seasoned gladiators of the political battlefield. There is a father-daughter duo and other siblings too in the fray. It was in fact PA Sangma who introduced dynastic politics in Meghalaya although Dr Mukul Sangma is not far behind. His brother, Zenith Sangma was an MLA in the 6th Meghalaya Legislative Assembly ( 2003-2008) and also a minister in the government at that time. Perhaps those in the Congress draw their inspiration from the first family of Indian politics, the Nehru-Gandhi family which has always believed in promoting dynastic politics.
It is hard to believe that members of one family are ordained to public service. Despite loud proclamations over election platforms that they are there for the public good the fact is they are there to corner political resources for themselves. Look at the dearth of leadership in the Congress party, nay in the nation as a whole. If it’s not Sonia Gandhi it has to be Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Vadra. At the end of the day, the idea is simply to accumulate political gains. This is how political economy is understood in modern day politics. A husband and wife team or a team of brothers would not be too different from a business consortium except that the investment is a national and public resource which is sought to be converted into a private equity. The consortium works very well and hence there will never be any dissent on issues no matter how adverse they are to public welfare. Even policy would be tailored towards a consensual arrangement for the greater good of the few even while the majority gets a smaller share or no share at all of the economic pie. This is a dangerous development in Meghalaya’s politics because it is also the worst form of nepotism. Earlier this used to be visible in government service where family members of elected representatives or their supporters were pushed in at the cost of qualified and capable contenders. Now nepotism has entered the power grid where all decision making happens. It remains to be seen if the people of Meghalaya will promote this legacy of family politics which is fast turning into a family business.