Political Parties Field Close Relatives in Lok Sabha Elections
When Amar Singh recently took a dig at the Samajwadi Party and accused it of turning family into a political party, he was actually echoing the truth that’s unique to Indian polity. Even Lalu Prasad Yadav had to answer some tough questions when he declared his son Tejashwi Yadav as his political successor. This practice of passing on the baton to a family member is a long-standing legacy that has often brewed storm during political discourse. Let’s not emphasize on the Yadav family alone as the list of ‘political families’ in India is growing ceaselessly.
With the 16th Lok Sabha Elections almost round the corner, it would be interesting to note the family connections of the candidates who are being fielded.
To start with, the much talked about Gandhi family will have four of its representative contesting elections from Uttar Pradesh. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi from the Congress, while Maneka Gandhi and Varun Gandhi from the BJP. Four candidates from Mulayam Singh Yadav family including are also contesting the elections from the same state. It won’t be far-fetched to say that this phenomenon has spread across regional parties in a jiffy.
Although some claim that dynasty politics is turning irrelevant in India, the ground realities speak a different dialect. If we leave Congress, BJP and other national parties aside, we would witness a surge in this phenomenon even at regional level.
In almost every state in North India you will find the ‘succession theory’ at work when it comes to fielding candidates for the Lok Sabha polls. In Kashmir, Omar Abdullah’s father is gearing up for a poll fight. PDP chief Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s daughter Mehbooba Mufti is one of the party candidates in the poll fray. The neighboring Himachal Pradesh will see chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s wife representing Congress. Ex-chief minister Vijay Bahuguna’s son is now a strong card for the Congress in Uttarakhand. While in Haryana you have Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s son as an election candidate, Punjab has Amarinder Singh’s wife Praneet Kaur contesting from Patiala.
Sandeep Dikshit, son of the recently ousted Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit is contesting from East Delhi.
The scenario is very similar in the western states. In Rajasthan, BJP has chosen Vasundhara Raje’s son Dushyant Singh and the Congress leader late Rajesh Pilot’s son Sachin Pilot is contesting from his Ajmer constituency. In Maharashtra, Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule will contest the upcoming polls under the NCP banner. Ex- CM Narayana Rane’s son Nilesh Rane, a Congress leader from Maharashtra has got the party ticket to fight elections.
Moving to the south, we find P Chidambaram’s son contesting from Shivaganga. In Andhra Pradesh, the TRS chief has roped in his daughter, son, and nephew as party’s candidates for the Lok Sabha elections. In West Bengal also, the familial connections have moved beyond daughters and sons as CM Mamata Banerjee has fielded her nephew Abhijeet for the polls. It’s easy to decipher from the current trend that the individuals having kinship with existing and former chief ministers are making their presence felt ahead of the general elections.
There have been instances wherein leaders of humble origins scaled up to national prominence by the virtue of their capabilities. A significant rise of individualism is certainly evident in leaders such as Arvind Kejriwal, Nitish Kumar, Narendra Modi, and Mamata Banerjee, but still the essence of political dynasties continues to linger on, at least for now.