By Nirupama Subramanian –
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the former President of Sri Lanka, has among her photographs a collector’s item taken when she was an 11-year-old girl. Crowded into the frame are no less than five South Asian Prime Ministers who served at different times over five decades in the 20th Century: her father S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, mother Sirimavo Bandaranaike, herself (she was Prime Minister before she went on to win the presidential election in 1994), Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. There might have been six Prime Ministers in that photograph had Mrs. Gandhi taken her son Rajiv along on that visit to Colombo in 1956.
Another scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family is now preparing to lead his party into an electoral battle that could see him become the fourth Indian Prime Minister from his family. The waves of doubt about his suitability for the top job crash hopelessly on a rock called There Is No Alternative. Indeed, if there is an alternative, that too is believed to exist in the same family.
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