Curse of the second rung | india | Hindustan Times
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Curse of the second rung

There seems to be a jinx on second rung leaders emerging frontrunners in Indian politics.

india Updated: May 04, 2006 01:34 IST

There seems to be a jinx on second rung leaders emerging frontrunners in Indian politics.

If it’s BJP's Pramod Mahajan, who fell to his brother’s bullets, the CPM in March lost an astute and popular leader in Anil Biswas. The Congress has already gone through the pain thrice, losing a charismatic Madhavrao Scindia, Rajesh Pilot and Jitendra Prasada.

All of them were young, dynamic and raring to go. But shared a world of difference as well. Mahajan for one had an image crisis that not all his skills, oration, and strategy could help him overcome.

His politics of opulence made the RSS squirm. In the 2004 polls, he was rebuffed by the very masses he had dressed up with an India Shining campaign. And that reduced Mahajan to being just a kingmaker, pushing for Rajnath Singh as BJP chief.

But unlike him, the other leaders had no image crisis. Scindia was the Congress’s public face: clean, efficient, and popular. When Pilot was killed in a car accident, organisational polls were around the corner in which he was to seek his “rightful” place in the party. When the CPM lost Anil Biswas in March, his party was preparing for the assembly elections with a strategy crafted by him.