Duryodhana was the son of a king and should be made the next king but still generally all people consider Yudhishthira to be the righteous owner of the throne. Why should Yudhishthira be the crown prince when Pandu and his wives had already left their kingdom and appointed Dhritarashtra as the king?

Also, Yudhishthira was not a direct son of Pandu. Pandu himself was not the righteous owner of the throne. He got the throne because Bhishma said that Dhritarashtra will have problems due to his blindness, but later on also he became the king. So, it was Dhritarashtra's right to be king and later on he became the king and therefore rightful owner to succeed him should be Duryodhana. I also think, between Yudhishthira and Duryodhana, if there was no such confusion as to who should be the next king, then there wouldn't have been any Mahabharata.

  • If there was no such confusion as to who should be the king between Bahubali and Bhallaldev, then there wouldn't have been any movie like Bahubali. Bahubali's father became king because Bhallaldev's father was paralyzed. After death of Bahubali's father, Bhallaldev's mother was the ruler. So rightful owner to succeed her should be Bhallaldev but all the people wanted Bahubali as king because he was more worthy of becoming a king than Bhallaldev. – YDS Oct 21 '17 at 9:11
  • By shastras King should not have any physical disabilities then only he can be made king that is the reason satyavati asked vedavyas to do another niyoga with other princess because this child is ineligible to rule the kingdom. Natural hier to the throne is Pandu and his sons(even its adopted) but here they are manasik putras of pandus its more than adoption.. After Pandus passing away naturally the king should have been yudishtir not duryodhan .. Since Pandav went to exile on his own with no other option left this blind dhridhrastra was made king by bhimsa overruling shastras.. – Prasanna R Jul 21 '19 at 6:48

In Bharata dynasty (in which Yudhishthira and Duryodhana were born), it was not necessary that only the eldest son of a king will become the next king. The one who was worthy of becoming a king used to be chosen. Even king Bharata himself didn't appoint his eldest son as his successor:

And Bharata begat upon his three wives nine sons in all. But none of them were like their father and so Bharata was not at all pleased with them...

The monarch then performed a great sacrifice and through the grace of Bharadwaja obtained a son named Bhumanyu. And then Bharata, the great descendant of Puru, regarding himself as really possessing a son, installed, O foremost one of Bharata's race, that son as his heir-apparent.

~ The Mahabharata: Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva

Yudhishthira was best choice for Yuvaraja because Yudhishthira was more worthy of becoming a king than Duryodhan:

Vaisampayana continued, 'After the expiration, O king, of a year from this, Dhritarashtra, moved by kindness for the people, installed Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu, as the heir-apparent of the kingdom on account of his firmness, fortitude, patience, benevolence, frankness and unswerving honesty (of heart). And within a short time Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, by his good behaviour, manners and close application to business, overshadowed the deeds of his father.

~ Mahabharata: Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva

The citizens were also happy with the heir-apparent Yudhishthira and wanted to make him king:

Then the citizens, beholding the son of Pandu possessed of accomplishments, began, O Bharata, to speak of them in all places of public resort. And assembled in courtyards and other places of gathering, they talked of the eldest son of Pandu (Yudhishthira) as possessed of the qualifications for ruling the kingdom. And they said, 'Dhritarashtra, though possessed of the eye of knowledge, having been (born) blind, had not obtained the kingdom before. How can he (therefore) become king now? Then Bhishma, the son of Santanu, of rigid vows and devoted to truth, having formerly relinquished the sovereignty would never accept it now. We shall, therefore, now install (on the throne) with proper ceremonies the eldest of the Pandavas endued with youth, accomplished in battle, versed in the Vedas, and truthful and kind.

~ Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Jatugriha Parva

But later evil Duryodhana tried to kill Yudhishthira and his brothers in lakshagriha with their mother. And only on the false news of Yudhishthira's death in lakshagriha, Duryodhana was chosen as Yuvaraja.

By birth (direct son), neither Duryodhana nor Yudhishthira had a right on the throne because technically neither Duryodhana nor Yudhishthira was Kuruvanshi (Kaurava), a new name of Bharata dynasty after king Kuru. Because king Shantanu had three sons Bhishma, Chitrangada and Vichitravirya; Bhishma was bhramachari and other two died before producing any child. By the grace of Vedavyasa, all three Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura were born after death of their father Vichitravirya. However, by the grace of Gods (Dharmaraja, Indra, Vayu, Ashvinis), all 5 Pandavas were born in front of their father Pandu. By birth (direct son), only Bhishma had right on the throne because he was the only Kuruvanshi/Kaurava (direct son of Shantanu) at that time.

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This was the initial conflict and mostly politics up until this point in my opinion. Reason for Mahabharat was not just this conflict of interest, this was a starting point, yes, but this was not the entire reason.

Duryodhan started to get antagonized after he insulted Draupadi and had Pandavas exiled. This not only earned pandavas more sympathy, but also more credibility for living as laymen in exile. Having Krishna on their side didn't hurt them either.

Duryodhan may have been in line of inheritance, but his actions made him unsuitable (not to mention unpopular) choice to be king.

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Very much well posed question. If we step back a few years we will see that the doubt of "who will inherit the throne" arose just after Duryodhana was born.

Question no. 1: Who could question the inheritance of the King's son?
Ans: He/They have to be someone holding similar power (if not less) than the king (Dhritarashtra) himself. Now, here we sense a bit of politics. So, the threat - that someone else (obviously, Yudhishthira) was going to claim the throne in future - persisted from the very beginning. Quite naturally, Dhritarashtra, the King, and also his son Duryodhana would not like it.

Question no. 2: Why couldn't the all-powerful king reject Kunti with her five juvenile sons' plea for asylum in the kingdom?
Ans: The reason is again the same. It is quite sure that a had conspiracy cropped up and the king could do nothing to check it.

This answers the Question.

Selection of the heir was beyond the scope of Dhritarashtra.

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