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Is politics a family business in India?

Posted by Admin on April 21, 2014 | Comment

We have seen enough of a ugly scuffle, although verbal, among the political parties, as one accuses the other of turning their family into political fiefdom. While this accusation was limited to the Congress or the Gandhi family earlier, more parties have added themselves to the so-called coveted list.

Is politics a family business in India

Present Political Scenario

Regional political parties continue to rope in people on the basis of same caste, clan and even same family. Regardless of their ineptness to be true representatives of the people, the baton is handed over to them. Bihar is one example, where a feudal democracy is flourishing. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is one of the perfect examples of a family-run political party that is run by the family of Lalu Prasad Yadav. Similarly, in the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party is often referred to as Mulayam Singh Yadav’s personal venture, the reigns of which are now in the hands of his son Akhilesh Yadav.

In the west, the Thackerays dominate the political landscape. What catches people’s attention is the constant feud between Bal Thackeray’s son and Raj Thackeray. Down south, DMK is now being identified as Karunanidhi’s family estate, which unfortunately couldn’t accommodate tall leaders, who did not belong to the same family.

Hereditary Politics in India

Favouritism is no offence when it’s a family affair. However, the same practice could prove detrimental if it was replicated in political decision making. In India, it’s not very difficult to find political lineage of political candidates, as most leaders are sincere in their effort to promote their near ones. If some of the reports are assumed to be true, we are staring at some worrisome statistics. About 30% of the total MPs in the current Lok Sabha are a part of some political dynasty. In a rather shocking revelation by the election watchdog, MPs having political lineage are about five times richer than those who have made it to that level on their own.

Impact of Political Dynasties on a Democracy

The clout of these political families is threatening, as it harms the very concept of a democracy. When qualities such as political acumen, academic achievements and experience are overruled by family name, the signs don’t look healthy. In a bid to keep the position and power within the family, the established heads of the families are choosing successors from among their household. That sets a dangerous precedence. Preferring familial link over merit will not make any space for a deserving individual who doesn’t have a family as a launchpad. With politics becoming a family-owned enterprise, political power is further getting concentrated in the hands of a few.