India should have a consistent procedure for constitutional posts

SasikalaThe way V. K. Sasikala is about to become the next CM of Tamil Nadu despite the fact that the state already has a CM, is quite alarming. I’m not saying whether she will be good or bad for Tamil Nadu, all I’m saying is, her sudden elevation to the post of CM in one of the major states of India shows that you don’t have to follow a political procedure in order to become CM. All you need is political influence. All you need is the political power that you wield. Any post is open to you. This is quite dangerous.

Initially this modus operandi began with the Congress, with Indira Gandhi becoming the PM after Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi becoming the PM after Indira Gandhi. Since technically Sonia Gandhi couldn’t become the PM the mantle would have been thrust upon Rahul or Priyanka had they not been kids. Even when she couldn’t become the PM, Sonia Gandhi ran the country through a puppet PM, and it was perfectly normal for everybody. Our intellectuals and liberals had no problem with a backdoor power center. No mainstream journalist ever asked why she was running the country via the NAC?

Tragically, our media is all riled up with existential questions only when it concerns the BJP – and mind you, I’m not writing this because politically I support the BJP – otherwise, they just become reporting agents. They are “being dispassionately objective” personified.
Sasikala is elected as a legislature party leader by MLAs and lo and behold! She is all set to become the CM. No journalist worth his or her salt has asked how is it even possible in a democracy? What has been her political experience? Why is she becoming the CM just because she is politically influential?

I’m not saying if this should happen or not. What I’m disturbed about is that no TV news channel is asking what the heck is happening? They’re simply reporting it as if it concerns nobody. Let it be the BJP, and suddenly, we would have had a constitutional crisis of global consequences.

Even Rajiv Gandhi became the PM like that. Before Indira Gandhi’s assassination, he was a nobody in terms of politics. Then suddenly, since nobody outside of the Nehru Gandhi family can be portrayed as the biggest leader, he was suddenly catapulted by a tragic vicissitude and political opportunism.

Look at Narendra Modi on the other hand. For every position he has had to fight a tooth and nail battle. During 2014 he made a world record by holding 1800 big and small rallies in the run up to the general elections. Even before that he had been Gujarat’s CM for 15 years. Before that he had worked for the BJP and the RSS for many years just like any other volunteer.

Whatever you say about the BJP, at a larger level, there is no family feudalism. Before Modi’s ascent there were many big leaders in the party including Advani, Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj. Still, due to sheer hard work and political acumen he was able to become the PM, and, the inner dynamics of the party allowed him to leave everybody behind. Can this happen in other parties? I don’t think so.

But this is not about the BJP. What I am talking about is, like American elections, there should be a standard procedure for people to be able to occupy constitutional positions. Unless they follow that procedure, they should not be able to hold constitutional positions. This may cause disparities, given India’s unequal society, but keeping this in mind, some measures must be taken so that individuals don’t just popup from somewhere and become CMs and PMs.

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