Showcasing the BJP, it is easy to say that there is virtually no case of dynasty politics there because the old farts up at the RSS and the Top Brass of BJP has never let future generations come up. L.K Advani is one person who is as old as the Sansad Bhavan! The idiosyncrasy stands for itself! It would be important to note that many political leaders have openly began training and inducting their offsprings into politics. Mulayam Singh nurturing Akhilesh or Parkarsh Singh Badal deputing his tasks to his son are prominent instances. Cases of nepotism are prevalent too, with the Pawar duo at the helm of it. A not so good example would be the Thackrey outfits in Maharashtra.
Yet another scam exposed. Some new allegations rose. Welcome to India, a nation which is now so accustomed to the emerging of allegations that gossip session topics have shifted from “Mr. Walia” to “Mr.Vadra” now. In light of Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan’s accusations, Congress leaders like Salman Khurshid have come forward to defend Mr. Robert Vadra using terms like “accusations are being raised against private citizens”. If some day Mr.Kejriwal or Mr. Bhushan alleges me of corrupt activities, will the Law Minister come forward to defend me? Am I not a “private citizen” too? Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the great political dynasty democracy of India. Although many may be quick to assume that dynasty politics is a forte strongly held only in the Congress, many other parties are guilty of the same.
India in its quest for freedom had fought the Royal Family of the Great Britain, which ironically was and is a dynastic monarchy. Our political leaders (I won’t demean the spirits of our freedom fighters by accusing all of them) slyly wove a dream for us. A utopia was projected to us where our leaders were not the oppressive mahjarajasof yore. Nor were the British oppressors to be our future leaders. We were to be a Democracy, a land where power lay with the common man. Our Constitution also went on to give us that right. But for the sake of convenience, let us imagine that a general observer is asked to judge the style and form of our politics without any pre-hand knowledge of our so called “Democracy”. Even a stupid man would shout “Dynastic pseudo political rule” in response.
Let’s look at the facts. In 65 years of our Independence, we have had a Gandhi-Nehru family member as the Prime Minister for a whooping 37 years (Jawaharlal Nehru-17; Indira Gandhi-11+4; Rajiv Gandhi-5). This number goes up to 45 years if we include the reign of our incumbent Prime Minister. Ignoring this, let’s consider other perpetrators of the same crime. Meira Kumar, the current Speaker of the Lok Sabha, is the daughter of Jagjivan Ram, one of the old house freedom fighters of India. Her current constituency (the one she won in 2004 after losing from a different constituency in the previous elections) is Sasaram, the same constituency her father won 8 consecutive (nearly 32 years) terms from. Some may argue that it may be the political party’s influence. Well, Jagjivan Ram won these elections from 3 different parties. Sasaram is a clear case of sympathy electoral and the brewing of a political family.
Moving on to someone who has remote ties with the Indian National Congress. Jayant Chaudhary, the introducer of the key yet controversial Land Acquisition Bill, is the son of Chaudhary Ajit Singh, the current Civil Aviation Minister of India and Party President of the Rashtriya Lok Dal(RLD). But *wait for it* he is the son of Charan Singh, a former Prime minister of India. Between them, this father-son duo has held the constituency for 10 general elections out of the 15 Lok Sabhas yet. 3 generations of the same family, involved in super important political decisions of the nation, they are a clear case of “passing the knowledge on, but only to my son”. Another three generation long political family is that of the Abdullahs in Jammu and Kashmir. The family has between all three generations held the Chief Minister’s post for 27 years!
Another case is of the Patnaiks in Orrisa. Although the link is not crystal clear yet this lack of clarity is justifiable due to the turmoil in the state. Biju Patnaik, the name sake of the BJD( currently in power under Naveen Patnaik) and his son have shared Chief Ministerial post in Orrisa for a considerable time with the junior Patnaik holding on to the post for nearly 12 years(but it would be stupid to claim that it is only family ties at work here. Clearly, his policies had a positive impact in the state).
I merely quote these facts to point out the irony in India today. We fought for years to through over tyrants. But before the rule of the foreigners, India was always under an empire controlled by a dynasty. The Guptas, the Mauryas, the Mughals, the Rajputs etc. Looking at the current scenario of polity in India, it is safe to conclude that India is returning to its traditional pre-British roots. Specific families controlling specific regions and holding power was something that was and in all probability, shall be a continued tradition. People argue by saying “Arrey doesn’t a politician’s kid have the option of joining politics?” Of course they have complete rights to. However, when you lose seats from all constituencies which your family is not related to, no offspring has the birthright of fighting an election from their parents’ constituency.
Personally, the oddity I experience is when I ask myself the question “Is this really what Indians gave their lives for? Is this the perfect world envisaged by our founding fathers? Are we really a democracy or are we a pseudo democracy hiding behind the veil of political handing down of power?” The answer to all these questions is simple disgust. Disgust at our political leaders for adhering to this. Disgust at our current generations members (including myself) for dismissing politics. Finally, disgust at our voters, for foolishly trusting families blindly.
Today, I grieve for the future of politics of India. I hope we change. Soon, Fast and Now