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Sharmistha not first political heir to publicly slam parent

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In the last decade, many political families have sparred over differences, including alliances, constituencies, and succession.

New Delhi: It made headlines everywhere when India’s former First Daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee questioned her father, former President Pranab Mukherjee, on Twitter for his planned address at an RSS event.

However, Sharmistha’s tirade is only one among several examples of politicians’ children — many of whom owe their launch and success in the field to their parents — mounting very public onslaughts against their progenitors over opposing stances, with political affiliation seemingly often trumping the filial bond.

Here are some other examples.

Deve Gowda and H.D. Kumaraswamy: A difficult alliance

Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy recently spoke in the legislative assembly about how his current alliance with the Congress is an effort to clear the ‘blemish’ of the decision of going against father Deve Gowda and supporting the BJP.

“I was still a novice in politics in 2006. I am still guilty of taking political decisions that hurt my father (H.D. Deve Gowda),” he said.

In 2006, the JD(S) was in coalition with the Congress, and Gowda supported Dharam Singh as chief minister. Kumaraswamy, however, began back-channel talks with the BJP and got his MLAs to resign from the government. Singh was forced to resign too, paving the way for Kumaraswamy to be CM with the BJP’s support.

An angry Deve Gowda didn’t attend Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in ceremony and refused to speak to him.

“I made it very clear to him that I will not compromise with my principles. I asked him not to force me to accept the decision that he has taken. I have communicated to him that he can go his way and I, mine,” he had said at the time.

Yashwant and Jayant: The Sinha saga

In April this year, former union minister Yashwant Sinha quit the BJP saying he was going to launch a nationwide campaign to save democracy. In the last couple of years, Sinha has become a fairly vocal critic of the Modi government.

His son Jayant, on the other hand, is minister of state for civil aviation in the same dispensation.

Last year, Yashwant had come down heavily on the NDA government for its mismanagement of the economy in an article published in The Indian Express.

Jayant rebutted that in an article in The Times of India. “Several articles have been written recently on the challenges facing the Indian economy. Unfortunately, these articles draw sweeping conclusions from a narrow set of facts, and quite simply miss the fundamental structural reforms that are transforming the economy,” read the article.

Earlier this year, when asked about the relations with his son, Yashwant said, “At this point of time, it’s that harmony which stands disrupted.”

Mulayam Singh and Akhilesh Yadav: A list of troubles

In December 2016, Mulayam Singh Yadav expelled son and then Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh from the Samajwadi Party over ‘gross indiscipline’.

Akhilesh had circulated a list of candidates for the 2017 assembly elections, parallel to the list that party supremo Mulayam was going to release.

Mulayam maintained that the party would narrow down on another CM and Akhilesh would not be the CM candidate.

“I will take the strictest action to save the SP. For us, the SP is the priority. We don’t care for posts. Now we want to save the party,” he had said.

After this, Akhilesh forced himself back into the party and proceeded to gather support to become the party’s chairman, toppling his father. Mulayam called the move unconstitutional and the matter reached the Election Commission, which ruled in Akhilesh’s favour.

“No victory which sees my father put down is a matter of happiness… but this fight was necessary,” Akhilesh had told NDTV.

Anupriya and Krishna Patel: Feud with mother

In 2015, Anupriya Patel, minister of state for health and family welfare, was expelled by her mother from Apna Dal — the party founded by her father.

Krishna Patel had expelled her daughter over ‘indiscipline’ claiming that the junior Patel wasn’t participating in meetings and was overcome by ambition.

The family feud was so intense that three days after Anupriya became minister in the NDA government in 2016, Apna Dal broke all ties with the BJP for not following the ‘decorum of alliance’.

Karunanidhi and sons

In 2013, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi declared younger son M.K. Stalin as his successor. His older son M.K. Alagiri publically expressed his displeasure at this.

In March 2014, Alagiri was expelled from the party for reportedly speaking against party leaders and ‘anti-party activities’. In response, Alagiri accused Karunanidhi of being partial to the younger son, adding he would ‘approach the court and seek justice’.

Stalin is still the anointed successor to Karunanidhi.

Arjun Singh and Veena Singh: A divided family

In 2009, after former union minister Arjun Singh’s daughter Veena Singh was not given a ticket by Congress for Madhya Pradesh’s Sidhi constituency, she filed a nomination as an independent candidate.

In the ensuing campaign, Veena and her mother were on one side while Arjun and son Ajay continued to campaign for the Congress. The election ended with BJP’s win.

“It is obvious that Veena’s decision has created crisis for the family,” Ajay had said at the time.

Veena later returned to Congress.

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