Dynastic Politicians - Can they deliver?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Significant rush of young blood in Indian polity is definitely a good omen, but the most disappointing thing is that the "dynastic politics". Its not just Congress party which is practicing dynastic politics. If you exclude Communists, all other parties are playing around with sympathy votes. Most of us are happy that younger generation is looking forward for politics as their career. But the hard reality is that, majority of the elected young legislators and parliamentarians are sons/daughters/widows or blood relatives of prominent politicians of their areas. Recently, Conard Sangma and James Sangma, two sons of former speaker P. A. Sangma got elected to Meghalaya legislative assembly. What if Conard Sangma and James Sangma were not the sons of P. A. Sangma? We wouldn't have seen them as legislators even in our wildest dreams. Ask yourself these questions, what if Rahul Gandhi was not the son of Sonia/Rajiv Gandhi, what if Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Neeraj Shekhar, Milind Deora, and many others were not the sons of prominent politicians? Do you think they could have made it to the parliament at such an inspiring young age? Do you think they could be charismatic leaders in future as their fathers? Most of the political pandits' opinions are divided.

I feel that Indian voters who elect the leaders from political dynasty are 'feudal people'. Why can't we see the credibility of a candidate before we go for sympathy vote? "In most states there are constituencies that have been handed down for generations. It's only leaders who don't have sons who don't promote them. Everybody else does. As the late Devi Lal once remarked: 'If I don't promote my own sons, whose sons should I promote -- someone else's?' It is not a matter of surprise to me [rediff news]." I have no problem in having elected representatives from political family as long as they are capable of changing the lives around. Once elected, he/she should not be a symbolic representative, one has to have that pure and intense desire to make our society better than what it is. Unfortunately, in most of the cases, these elected representatives (especially in states) become symbolic and fail to contribute to the very basic functioning of democracy.

Its quite disappointing to know that dynastic politics is pervasive in Indian democracy. Take a look at the following vital data that i have collected over past few days.

I. Dynasties in parliament (Please note that the list is incomplete).
  1. Sachin Pilot, son of former union minister Shri. Rajesh Pilot.
  2. Jyotiraditya Scindia, son of former union minister Shri. Madhavrao Scindia who was the son of the last ruling Maharaja of Gwalior.
  3. Neeraj Shekhar, son of former prime minister Chandra Shekhar.
  4. Priya Dutt, daughter of former union minister late Shri. Sunil Dutt.
  5. Manvendra Singh, son of former Finance Minister Jaswant Singh.
  6. Sandeep Dikshit, son of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
  7. Dushyant Singh, son of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia.
  8. Milind Deora, son of former minister Murali Deora.
II. Dynasties in Legislative assemblies in various states.

Let us take Karnataka Legislative assembly as an example[source].
(a) Sons of the soil who won the now suspended legislative assembly:
  • H.D. Kumaraswamy, H.D. Revanna, sons of former prime minister and JD(S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda,
  • Dinesh Gundurao, son of former Chief minister Gundurao,
  • Kumar Bangarappa, son of former Chief minister S. Bangarappa,
  • Krishna Bhairegowda, son of former MLA Bhairegowda,
  • Mahima Patel, Prakash Khandre, Sudhakar Choudareddy, Tanvir Seth, U.T. Khadar, all of them are sons of former MLAs.
(b) Women legislators: Bhagirathi Marulasiddanagowda, Nagamani Nagegowda, Vijayalakshmamma Bandisiddegowda, Sunita Veerappagowda, Shakuntala Shetty, they all won the assembly elections based on their husbands' sympathy votes.

Just to give you the glimpse of the situation in other states, here is the quick list (thanks to rediff, got some more names here).
  1. Conard Sangma and James Sangma, two sons of former speaker P. A. Sangma, Meghalaya assembly.
  2. Navin, 26, Bihar MLA, an engineer who opted for politics last year following the sudden death of his father, Navin Kishore Prasad Sinha, also a BJP legislator. There are dozens of other MLAs who won based on sympathy votes[source], I don't have the complete list. Check out THIS link what their new, unusual, interests are.
  3. Rabri Devi, do you think she's there because of her great skills as a political operator?
  4. The CM of Orissa Naveen Patnaik, who never knew Oriya before becoming CM, is the son of former Orissa CM Biju Patnaik.
  5. Ajit Pawar, Maharashtra, nephew of Sharad Pawar.
  6. Ajit Singh, son of Chaudhury Charan Singh, Akhilesh Singh Yadav, son of Mulayam Singh Yadav, in Uttar Pradesh.
  7. "Don't forget the Abdullahs – who have been around power in J&K for three generations."
  8. The BJP's K C Pant is the son of the first chief minister of UP, Govind Ballabh Pant.
  9. Former 'CEO of Andhra Pradesh', Chandra Babu Naidu is the son-in-law of the charismatic NT Ramarao.
  10. MK Stalin, son of M. Karunanidhi, Karunanidhi's daughter is also an MP. In a way, Jayalalithaa is also a political heir of M G Ramachandran.
  11. "The first CM of Madhya Bharat (now Madhya Pradesh) was Ravi Shankar Shukla -- his two sons, V C Shukla, who fought his first election for Parliament in 1957, the same year as Mr Vajpayee, and is still around; so is S C Shukla, who has been the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh three times."
And the list goes on... At this point of time, we may think that we are actually getting younger generation into the politics, but if we are getting the young blood from political dynasties in our county, I do not think thats the good omen for the future democracy. I feel that, in such case, the politics in India will again come back to the squire one, where all the dirty politics is being played. I do agree with (some of) you that, some of them from the political dynasty could become charismatic leaders as their fathers/mothers. But, mind you, that is still, just a hope. I sincerely hope that they will be capable of changing the lives around.


Nishad Bhatawadekar said...

You forgot to mention Bal Thackrey and Uddhav Thackrey[:)] Maybe you can add his nephew Raj Thackrey too !

VB said...

In India, political rights are taken for granted and are now neglected by those who see their prosperity as a result of their own economic wherewithal. Politics for the middle class is an intellectual preoccupation, not an urgent ethical imperative.

excerpted from

The middle class must bring in that change and while most of us share the concern, few of us are doing anything on grassroots level.

excerpted from http://www.ayesaala.blogspot.com

Manjunath Singe said...

Hi Vikram, Thanks for visiting this blog,

@".... few of us are doing anything on grassroots level."
I understand that there is a lack of proactive initiatives from "few of us" who "actually want" to do things, but, things are not just happening. Reasons are many and multifaceted and you know them. Believe me, there are many who are actually contributing at the grass root level, I have seen them working sincerely. The problem is, their work doesn't get highlighted in the media and people still keep on thinking that, nothing much is happening. I agree with you that whatever is happening is not good enough. And there is always a need of "more". Hope you come along and be a part of the change!

Unknown said...

I agree that India needs young blood in political leadership to drive away the old irrelevant conventional thinking and policies of old timers which has bred corruption and failure. However, dynastic politics should not be encouraged. People need to be made aware that only capable youth should be given a chance and not just because so and so is the son or daughter of so and so in politics. - John Wilson Thabah, Shillong. Meghalaya. johnthabah@gmail.com

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