Has India accepted dynastic politics or is it being imposed?

Rohit Chandavarkar
Sunday, 6 October 2019

Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi in all his political campaigns has been targeting the Congress party for its dynastic rule, the BJP itself in the Assembly polls is seen depending more and more on Maharashtra’s dynastic political families. People too seem to be voting for the reasons of family legacy and goodwill (generated by the previous generation) in favour of certain candidates. So does this mean India has accepted dynastic rule? The question is very much debatable and only time will tell the answers.

One of the main issues that the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party took up in their 2014 Lok Sabha poll campaign was the issue of dynastic politics which had gripped India since many decades. In all his speeches during the campaign, Narendra Modi attacked dynastic politics specifically inside the Congress party which as he pointed out, was run by just one family for over 60 years. People supported Modi in large numbers and one of the factors that helped him was his humble background and he coming from a non-political family. But five years later, in Maharashtra Assembly polls what we see on a large scale is that the BJP is depending on dynastic political families of the State for their victory!

On Friday the BJP announced that party’s disgruntled leader from North Maharashtra would not be given candidature in the Assembly polls but his daughter Rohini would be given a ticket. One day earlier, the party announced in Konkan that former Congress leader Narayan Rane’s son Nitesh would be given BJP candidature in Sindhudurg district of Konkan. A few days ago the party also gave candidature to former Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil for Assembly while his son Sujay was given Lok Sabha candidature. In Pune the party gave candidature to former MP Anil Shirole’s son in Shivajinagar constituency while in Vidarbha former BJP minister Chandrashekar Bavankule’s wife was given Assembly candidature on the last day of filing nominations. The BJP is very heavily depending on Maharashtra’s dynastic political families for their victory in the Assembly polls!

There are two factors that the BJP has realised. As in the case of Eknath Khadse, the party realised that it cannot afford to let Khadse leave the party and they also realised that he cannot be included in the new Cabinet after elections. So the best way was to give the candidature to his daughter so that he does not rebel. Similar equations worked in many other constituencies.

The other factor seems to be the ability of the candidate to win. This worked in case of candidates such as Pankaja Munde who has the goodwill generated by her late father Gopinath Munde. Similar factors may work in Pune’s Shivajinagar constituency.

While the BJP is seen depending more and more on dynastic political families, their long standing partners in the State of Maharashtra Shiv Sena are completely a family-run party. Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aditya took out a rally in Worli to file his nomination and it is clear that he would win this election and be not just a member of the Assembly but be in the new Cabinet too if the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance manages to cross the magic figure of 144 seats in the House. Shiv Sainiks and Mumbai citizens came out in large numbers in support of Aditya. People seem to be voting for the reasons of family legacy and goodwill (generated by the previous generation) in favour of certain candidates. So does this mean India has accepted dynastic rule? The question is very much debatable and only time will tell the answers.

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