How ethical it was for son Jayant to rebut father Yashwant?

Yashwant Sinha, Jayant Sinha and Arun Jaitley (Centre)

-Soroor Ahmed

While talking to BBC Hindi Service senior journalist and political commentator, Ajay Singh, dubbed the Indian Express article (Sep 27) of the BJP old-horse Yashwant Sinha as a drama as his own tenure in the finance ministry was not something extraordinary. No doubt, Ajay Singh has his point as the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in mid-2002 replaced Yashwant Sinha with Jaswant Singh. In fact they both swapped external affairs and finance portfolios in the cabinet reshuffle.

But should one call another article by Yashwant’s son, Jayant Sinha, in the Times of India a day later a melodrama. Does it behove a son to rebut or contradict his father’s view in public? Yes, in politics fathers and sons have taken different stands. In history they have even fought in battles for two warring armies.

But should a son counter his father in an article the very next day in the civilized democracy of the 21stcentury?

This is the moot question. Why did the BJP ask Jayant to counter his father in a different newspaper? Or if he has done so on his own, why did he do so?

What is more important is why should one read Jayant? He is neither a renowned financial expert, nor the present or former finance minister of the country. He holds the portfolio of minister of state for civil aviation. He thus got place in the edit page of India’s largest selling newspaper not because of his fantastic and original view on state of Indian economy, but simply because he is the son of Yashwant Sinha, whose impact he tried to cancel out.

The biggest irony is that Jayant has been used not to lambaste the viewpoint of his father who is in a rival party. In fact he is among the top leaders of the same party, the BJP.

In fact politically too, Jayant owes everything–his seat in Parliament and his ministerial berth–to his father Yashwant Sinha.

Curiously, this development has taken place within nine months of the infamous clash between father Mulayam Singh Yadav and son Akhilesh Singh.

But there is a difference. In case of Mulayam his second wife and brother Shivpal Yadav too were to be blamed.

In Jayant’s case there is no report of family feud. (And if there ever is, it is not known.)

The BJP needs to learn a lesson from what had happened to Samajwadi Party. There is no dearth of political pundits who attribute the rout of the Samajwadi Party in the Assembly election this year to the bitter father-son infighting. The BJP was a bit confused after demonetization and people were in general not very unsatisfied with Akhilesh’s own performance as the chief minister.

The BJP has no doubt set a bad precedent of pitting son against father. Had any other minister countered Yashwant it would not have exposed its nervousness.

Is not it a classic case of what Shakespeare described as “Filial ingratitude”  in the play King Lear?

Soroor Ahmed is a senior journalist based in Patna. He writes for different prominent dailies.

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