Hyderabad: The ancient proverb is “Blood is thicker than water”, but not in politics. “Power is thicker than blood” — is a recently minted proverb. Today, power-based politics has dominated ideology-based politics and this has resulted in dividing several families. It is not uncommon to find in both Telugu states that the husband is in one party and the wife is in another party, or father and son are in different parties and so on. Sometimes family members in different parties are not even on talking terms with each other.
There was a time when politicians were committed to a party and its ideology and policies and very loyal to the party leadership. Politicians remained with the party whether it won or lost.
This has changed dramatically with commitment to party, ideology, policies, and loyalty to the party leadership being things of the past. The only thing the modern day politician is loyal to is power.
The entry of contractors, businessmen and the rich into politics has changed the dynamics of parties as electioneering has become a very costly affair.
To contest an election, a politician has to spend crores of rupees. The party leadership is also giving more importance to money power than loyalty in selecting candidates. In some parties the leadership directly asks candidates how much money they can spend if the party ticket is given to them. In other words, the candidate is “purchasing” his or her ticket.
“After purchasing the ticket he has to spend crores of rupees (on the campaign), so after winning the election, why should he be loyal to the party?” asks a senior politician familiar with the way the game is played. Despite the Anti-Defection Act, both Telugu states witnessed huge defections last year.
Politicians are joining parties that are likely to come to power and elected representatives prefer to join the ruling party. This is how members of one family find themselves in different parties.
In Telangana, D.K. Aruna and her brother Chittem Rammohan Reddy won in the 2014 Assembly elections from the Congress party (Gadwal and Makthal constituencies respectively). But the Congress party lost power and for the first time, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) ascended the gaddi. A few days later, Mr Rammohan Reddy joined the TRS and Ms Aruna remained in the Congress.
In the 2018 Assembly elections, Aruna contested from the Congress and her brother was the TRS candidate. While Rammohan Reddy won, Ms Aruna lost. Not surprisingly, before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Ms Aruna joined the BJP and contested the Mahabubnagar seat, which she lost.
In Andhra Pradesh, Daggubati Purandeswari was a two-time MP from the Congress and also served as Union Minister. After the state bifurcation, she resigned from the Congress in protest against the bifurcation and joined the BJP just before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Her husband Daggubati Venkateswara Rao went one better. In 1984, 1985, 1989 and 1994, he won the Parchur assembly constituency for the Telugu Desam. In 2004 and in 2009 he was elected from the same constituency as a Congress candidate. In the 2019 Assembly elections he changed parties yet again – contesting on a YSR Congress ticket, and lost.
While Errabelli Dayakar Rao is a minister in the TRS government of K. Chandrasekhar Rao, his son-in-law, Madan Mohan Rao, is in the Congress. Former minister Dharmapuri Srinivas is a TRS MP and his son Dharmapuri Arvind is a BJP MP.
In the combined AP, Chennamaneni Rajeswar Rao was in the CPI and his brother Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao was in the BJP. Both were MLAs from their respective parties. Mr Vidyasagar Rao was also an MP and served as Union Minister in the Vajpayee government, and till recently he was Governor of Maharashtra. While he remains with the BJP, his brother’s son Chennamaneni Ramesh is an MLA from the TRS, having switched over from the Telugu Desam.
In AP, former Assembly speaker of the combined state, Nadendla Manohar, is at present in the Jana Sena party. Earlier he was in the Congress and elected to the Assembly from Tenali constituency twice. His father and former Chief Minister Nadendla Bhaskar Rao recently joined the BJP.
Kishore Chandra Dev is in the Telugu Desam while his daughter Shruthi Devi is in the Congress. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, both contested the Araku seat for their respective parties. While former chief minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy is in the Congress, his brother N. Kishore Kumar Reddy is in the Telugu Desam....