Political Sycophancy: From Surjya to Charandas

In February 1999, a senior Congress leader in Odisha (who is no more) had created a flutter when he asserted that he was willing to be a peon if Sonia Gandhi so demanded. As obvious, he wanted the Chief Minister’s post after JB Patnaik was ousted. However, he failed to impress Sonia, as Giridhar Gamango got the final nod.

Surjya-Narayan-PatroHe was not the first Congress leader to show such political sycophancy. Late Giani Zail Singh, who was also the President of India, had made such a shameless remark that he was willing to sweep floors at Indira Gandhi’s bidding. While Gandhi Family always enjoyed such “respect” among the Congress people, our own Surjya Narayan Patro was no different.

Recently in October 2012, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Surjya Narayan Patro, shocked the people in Odisha when he proudly uttered, “Aame sabu Naveen babunka chakara” (We are all Naveen Patnaik’s servant). The height of sycophancy did not stop there. Five months later, he described Naveen Patnaik as a “Kamadhenu” (The Holy Cow), which gives whatever one wishes from it.

Union Minister and acting Chhattisgarh Congress President Charandas Mahant, justified his name beyond doubt. ‘Charandas’, which means ‘foot servant’, has minced no words to announce that he would sweep the floors of the Congress office for party president Sonia Gandhi, if the need arose.

Whoever showed such political sycophancy, did not regret for their remarks at the later stage. They meant power and position. And, they are ready to stoop to any level to score political gains. They are our leaders and we need to live with them. Do they have a choice? If they prefer to be vocal like Yashwant Sinha or Shatrughan Sinha, they will be pushed into political obscurity. This is the bitter truth of the Indian political system.

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