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Dynasty Politics in India

Come 16th April 2009 and the whole of India will be coloured in all shades of the General Elections.The 14th LokSabha will expire on the 1st June 2009 and as per constitutional provisions, a new LokSabha will have to be constituted before the 2nd of June 2009.The month long event will comprise of 714 mio voters (an increase of 43 mio over 2004) , 8,28,804 polling stations , 13,68,430 EVMs , 543 constituencies , a mind-boggling 21 lakh strong security force and last but the biggest of all - an expense of over 12000 crores, much more than what it took Mr. Obama to reach Capitol Hill...phew.. What numbers ?....huh??

Recently "aapro Rahul" or Rahul Baba was on a trip to Gujarat in order to entice voters in view of the coming elections.I am not very sure about others but Gujarati girls were definitely going gaa-gaa over Baba.Whatever be the case but Rahul Gandhi surely managed to pull - apart from other things (read Modi's leg) - huge crowds. Some attribute it to his charisma and his persona.

 

This brings to light for the nth time the issue of Dynasty Politics in India.Congress has pioneered this concept and it continues to tread that path when Rahul Gandhi was given a ticket from Amethi in 2004 and subsequently made the AICC president in 2007. There are numerous cases in India spanning the domains of business, politics, films etc. where this phenomenon rings true.Then, be it Sharad Pawar charting her daughter Supriya Sule's political career from his own constituency or Harry Baweja lanching a "Love Story 2050" for Hurman or Dhirubhai Ambani handing over the reins of the behemoth called Reliance to his two sons - Mukesh and Anil.

Of course, the newbies do reach even greater heights in some cases and their credentials outdo many times that of their ancestors. We return back to politics.

The fact remains that dynasty poltics is an irony considering that India is the world's largest democracy .All you got to possess is a big and famous name and then even with no prior experience in governance or an age to match you can aspire to be the one calling the shots in a political party. Constituencies are handed over as if an estate is handed over to the heirs. As per TOI " India is a democracy of dynasties , for dynasties and by dynasties". This has been the case with Congress all through the post-Independence era. It started with Jawaharlal Nehru bringing Indira Gandhi to the Congress.

Though according to renowned historian Ram Chandra Guha, it actually started with Indira acquiring control of the Congress and promoting his son Sanjay despite loyalists who had devoted years towards the party. Sanjay, in his regard, made the most of it and emerged as the second most important person in India without holding any post in the cabinet. Then came Rajiv's turn due to Sanjay's death and then after Rajiv's death a vacuum was created in the Congress.Hence the party workers persuaded "madam" to join the party as its President.This resulted in obvious annoyance of some and the resignation of Cong veteran Sitaram Kesri. But the saga continues with the inclusion of Rahul and who knows maybe Priyanka one fine day!!! No wonder if Raihan and Miraya do it too...oh come on ..they are Priyanka's "dil ke tukde"..

What can be the probable reasons ? The phenomenon spans the map of India Karunanidhi's DMK in the South , Mulayam Singh Yadav's SP in the North , Bal Thackeray's Shiv Sena in the West and Naveen Patnaik's BJD in the East.Widespread public acceptance is the most important one since people relate to the individual more than the party that the candidate represents. This is true because in majority of the cases , the movement of the person across parties also translates into the movement of votes for the party.Indians possess an unending fascination with the members of the Gandhi family right from the days of Jawaharlal Nehru. One more compelling reason is that after having established a stronghold (and a brand), why not capitalise and provide a ready field to the next gen guys and continue the legacy ?

 

Politics is perhaps the only field where you can enjoy the largest of returns with the smallest of investments. According to some sociologists the argument about dynasty politics is irrelevant in a country like ours since out here , inheritance is a birthright.

And like umpteen other things , if you thought that "it happens only in India" then you probably have got it wrong. Uncle Sam did it with the Kennedys , Dubya , Al Gore et al ; Pakistan did it with Benzir Bhutto (due to her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) and now Mr. Asif Ali Zardari ; Sri Lanka did it with Chandrika KumarTunge ; Bangladesh did it with Sheikh Hasina ; North Korea , Iraq and the list doesnt end..So thats the way it is..As long as it gives you votes and power , who's complaining ??...Happy Elections ...

Contributed By: Jimit N Shah I have completed my engineering from Mumbai University and was working with Oracle Financial Services Ltd. for the past two years. But as fate would have it , I resigned from my job and am looking for a new one. A voracious reader spanning business, finance, politics, marketing, media & entertainment , I have developed a liking for writing of late. I write on my blog jimitnshah.blogspot.com these days.  jimitnshah@gmail.com

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are purely that of the Contributing Writer.

 

 

 

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