Have Indian masses accepted dynastic rule or is it forced on them?

ROHIT CHANDAVARKAR
Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Priyanka’s entry may help the Congress in rural UP and benefit BJP elsewhere in India

The appointment of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary has come just weeks ahead of the eagerly awaited election campaign season. This appointment is obviously Congress’ reply to BJP’s aggression in Uttar Pradesh which is the most crucial state in the general elections of 2019 as it sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha. Politically it might be the only option left with the Congress which saw itself left out of the opposition-alliance announced by Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samajwadi Party a few days ago. But does this appointment send the right signal to the voters and masses of this country?

Ever since he was nominated as Prime Ministerial candidate in BJP’s Goa convention in September 2013, Narendra Modi has targeted the Congress repeatedly over the party and the government being run by one family. In his prolonged speech in the Lok Sabha in last monsoon session, during the debate over no confidence motion, PM Modi stressed again on how one family has not let any other leader emerge or grow beyond certain limits and how this gave rise to regional leaders quitting the party and forming their own political outfits. Wednesday’s announcement of the appointment of Priyanka Gandhi gives credence to those allegations levelled by Narendra Modi. The BJP will use this appointment to allege that Congress does not value their state leadership in Uttar Pradesh and wants to keep the entire AICC under one family’s control.

But is Congress the only political organisation indulging in dynastic rule? If one looks around the country, in north India, south India, east or west, one sees almost every political party being controlled by members of the family of the original founders of the party. Whether it’s the DMK in Tamil Nadu or Shiv Sena in Maharashtra or Rashriya Janata Dal in Bihar or National Conference in Kashmir, almost all political parties have dynastic rule. Does this mean the people of India have accepted dynastic rule in politics?  

BJP came to power in 2014 giving a lot of promises to the voters and now in 2019 there is much criticism over how most of those promises have not been delivered. There is much criticism over Narendra Modi’s decision of demonetisation and the manner in which GST was implemented but if there is one thing that the masses still find appealing about Narendra Modi it is his appeal of having come from a humble background and not belonging to any political dynasty himself! Modi keeps harping on this point in his every election rally and people seem to be believing him. So the paradox seems to be that one hand a leader can convince people to support him because he is not from any political dynasty on the other hand political leaders keep pushing their family members to take leadership positions in their own parties!

In rural Uttar Pradesh and other similar areas Priyanka’s political appeal may work because family legacy and other similar factors work in these regions but in rest of the country the BJP will use Priyanka’s appointment to point fingers at how the Congress’ runs a dynastic system of running the party. In urban India and western India this might actually damage the Congress party.

There is much criticism over Narendra Modi’s decision of demonetisation and the manner in which GST was implemented but if there is one thing that the masses still find appealing about Narendra Modi it is his appeal of having come from a humble background and not belonging to any political dynasty himself, so is dynastic politics accepted by the people or is it forced upon them by the leaders?

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