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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Lesson of Politics

Political parties must learn from corporate demergers

The shocking violence over which of ageing DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s sons should inherit his empire, in which three people were killed in Madurai, doesn’t have to be a logical culmination of dynastic politics. Elder son M K Azhagiri is losing the succession battle, and goons owing their allegiance to him have lashed out by torching media offices that published surveys suggesting that younger son M K Stalin is the more suitable heir. Political parties could learn a thing or two from corporate demergers, where they resolve succession issues in a far more civilised fashion. The biggest recent example is the division of the Reliance empire where the oil and chemical business remained with Mukesh, while power, financial services and telecom were hived off to Anil. Shareholders gained from the settlement as well, as share values of Reliance Industries and its successor companies took off after the demerger. Bhai Mohan Singh’s Ranbaxy empire was likewise split between sons Analjit and Parvinder. Rahul Bajaj, chief of Bajaj Auto, is set to carve up his company so that the auto business goes to elder son Rajiv, while younger son Sanjiv heads the finance entity. Commentators believe that just as in the case of carving up Reliance Industries, the parts are likely to be greater than the whole.
Surely similar principles can be applied to politics. Why can’t two brothers, or quarrelling relatives, enter into an agreement that each gets to be chief minister half the time? If political parties with widely disparate ideologies, like Congress and PDP, can work out power-sharing arrangements like this in a fractious state like Jammu and Kashmir, surely it can happen between members of a family? One could also work out the converse of the Lalu Yadav-Rabri Devi principle. It should be possible to spread out a family among various political parties, so that no matter who gets voted in or voted out, the family will always have a place in the sun. H D Deve Gowda has hit on something like this in Karnataka. He allowed a faction headed by his son H D Kumaraswamy to break away from his party, the Janata Dal (Secular), and align itself with that antithesis of secularism, the BJP. Kumaraswamy is now chief minister of Karnataka, supported by the BJP. If the latter should create problems for Kumaraswamy Deve Gowda might remember his secular principles — proving that family ties can always trump politics. It’s often said that the nation’s a family, but it may now be time to reverse this principle. A family, if it distributes itself widely and wisely enough, can encompass the nation.

1 comment:

domain said...

May be you would like to decrease the font size.
...prakashak

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