An elected leader is not always the best the people can have for the post. There are many others who do not get the chance to be on the race, as nepotism comes to play. That’s how political families are made – from the Castros to the Gandhis. Kingdoms are no more, these political families are no less than royal families. Had he not been the son of Mulayam Singh, the present Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav would not have been an MLA on his own, leave aside the famous case of Rahul Gandhi. Worldwide, people are being forced to accept inferior personalities as leaders, whose ancestors climbed the ladder to reach the peak. Their wards do not know the pain of climbing the ladder, and are all the more likely to fail the people they represent.

Nepotism in the politics of Meghalaya is unmistakable. While the Khasi-Jaintia Hills is more or less free from it, Garo Hills region bore with nepotism for more than a decade now. It started with late PA Sangma, the self-made leader, promoting his two sons and one daughter to the political landscape. They are bright people, but possess no extraordinary quality to represent the people. But, here is another family digging deep its political roots. Chief minister Mukul Sangma, who travelled a long journey from a physician to the helm of affairs, is now trying to grow a political family tree. He first promoted his brother Zenith Sangma, the present sports minister, and then his wife Dikkanchi D Shira.

Dikkanchi, now an MLA, is named as the Congress candidate for the upcoming election to Tura Lok Sabha seat necessitated by the sudden death of nine-time MP Purno Sangma. No doubt, Congress has many more capable candidates to contest the seat. While nepotism has come to play in case of Dikkanchi, her chances of winning also cannot be ruled out behind the selection. Congress, if not Mukul, might have thought Dikkanchi has the best chance to wrest the seat from the other Sangma family this time. It is not Dikkanchi’s oratory skill or popularity among the masses that the party has taken into account, but the very fact that she being Mukul’s wife has the chance to garner maximum votes. After all, people still vote for the family. Otherwise, PA Sangma’s two sons and the daughter would never have won any elections. Take, again, the example of Rahul Gandhi! While selection of Dikkanchi as Congress candidate may not be for the interest of the people of Garo Hills, but it is for the party at least.

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on April 23, 2016)