India: A country or a kingdom?
There are numerous challenges to tackle in the country with a population of 130 crores. Indians have been striving hard for years to fulfil their essential needs, caused by constant population growth. Against this backdrop, it is mockery of democracy, given the fact that there are a few families, who have grabbed all the powers for years.Dynasty politics has always been a political issue in India, but no political party dares to abolish it. There are some states, where a single family is representing various districts; one family has been dictating the state for years and one family have been controlling various cabinet port folios. These things not only hamper the development of the state but also spread conflict of interest in society. Sadly in India, this has been going on for decades.
Dynasty politics has also made an impact on Indian business. Those who are at the higher level in a company would often appoint their own people to other vacant positions avoiding deserving candidates. Recently, it was disclosed in a report that India’s 70 pe cent wealth is controlled by 1 per cent people. This report categorically points out the huge disparity in society. Rich are becoming richer and poor are becoming poorer.
When politics is centralised into one family, all the decisions are taken by it and due to this, there is no space for dissent. Most of the corruption cases have been found in different states due to dynasty politics–be it Lalu Yadav’s fodder scam or alleged corruption charges on Mulayam’s family of Samajwadi Party (SP) or M Karunanidhi’s family of DMK.
Now that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has its presence in more than 21 states, should it be assumed that dynasty politics has been brought to an end? Perhaps not. Those propagate dynasty are still dictating the society.
After Independence, Congress ruled the country for decades. In 2014 general elections, it was defeated by BJP, yet it is still the second largest party. Congress has always been controlled by Nehru-Gandhi family. Now Congress is in power in a few states. However, there is a perception that whenever it comes to power at the Centre or in states, it is controlled by Gandhi family directly or indirectly. This clearly points out the monopoly of this family on Congress and seeing this, one can say that Congress is the ‘Mother of the dynasty politics.’
With 21 crore population, Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state of the country. Mulayam Singh Yadav of Samajwadi Party served for three non-consecutive terms as Chief Minister of the state from 1989 to 1991, 1993 to 1995, and 2003 to 2007. After Mulayam, his son, Akhilesh Yadav served as the Chief Minister of the state from 2012 to 2017. If one looks at the dynasty of Mulayam, the list is long enough to prove that kingdom still exists in the country. At present, five members of the Mulayam’s family– Mulayam Singh Yadav himself, Dimple Yadav, Dharmendra Yadav, Akshay Yadav and Tejpratap Yadav–are Members of Parliament. Ram Gopal Yadav, the cousin of Mulayam, is in Rajya Sabha. Earlier, when the SP was in power in Uttar Pradesh, 20 members of this family along with Shivpal Yadav, younger brother of Mulayam, were in politics and in power. Same is the condition in Bihar, where RJD’s Lalu Yadav and his family members are enjoying fruits of power. Tejaswi Yadav, Lalu’s younger son, was until recently the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar without having proper experience of governance. Lalu’s elder son, Tejpratap Yadav, was Health Minister of the state. As Lalu Yadav has been convicted in fodder scam, her daughter, Misa Bharati (Member of Rajya Sabha), is managing all the works of his father. Here it is worth mentioning that both Tejpratap Yadav and Tejaswi Yadav are school drop-outs.
In Tamil Nadu too, dynasty politics is apparently visible. M Karunanidhi of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has been the five-time Chief Minister of the state. His daughter Kanimozhi is Rajya Sabha Member. His son MK Alagiri and MK Stalin both are active in Tamil Nadu politics. MK Alagiri was Cabinet minister in UPA-II government. As M Karunanidhi’s health is deteriorating, MK Stalin is controlling all the activities of DMK in Tamil Nadu.
In Telangana, K Chandrashekhar Rao, President of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), is the Chief Minister, his son KT Rama Rao is MLA and his daughter K Kavitha is Member of Parliament. In Kashmir too, dynasty politics has always been on top. State politics has always been controlled by Abdullah family–from Sheikh Abdullah to Farooq Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah to Umar Abdullah. In Bengal, Mamata Banerjee came to power riding on the crest of her protests and activism and now her nephew and first-time MP, Abhishek Banerjee has started controlling West Bengal politics. Recently, HD Kumaraswamy, son of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, was inducted as Chief Minister of Karnataka. The list does not end here. Naveen Patnaik, Sachin Pilot, Chandrababu Naidu etc. are also among them.
It is very important to mention that most of the dynasty politics has been propagated in the name of caste and religion. Mulayam Singh has monopoly on Yadav voters in Uttar Pradesh; Lalu Yadav plays politics in the name of Muslim and Yadav in Bihar. DMK in the south uses Dravidian and Tamil pride card. National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah plays Kashmir card. The irony is that neither Yadavs are prosperous, nor there is any improvement in the Muslim community. These communities have always been used by different political parties only to garner their votes. India will have to emerge beyond family politics for bringing peace and sustainability.
By Ravi Mishra