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Why India Should Not Vote For Dynasty

Development Dynasty India

Highlight: A study on the economic impact of political dynasties in India suggests that constituencies where dynasts win grow 6.5 percentage points slower per year than the constituencies won by non-dynasts. This study has been published by the World Bank.

The results of assembly elections in 5 states have been announced and Congress has formed the government in three states. These elections were hailed as the semi-final before the grand finale of Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

But, is there any link between the two elections? Yes, there appears to be one common denominator between the current assembly elections and the upcoming Lok Sabha elections to be held in 2019 and that is the influence of dynasty in Indian politics. This influence is however not restricted to these elections, but, is widely prevalent across the political parties except some like the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Parties.

The influence of dynasty is so much in India that many states in India are now virtually under the grip of dynastic families. For an instance, according to this report of Hindustan Times, Mulayam Singh Yadav and family: Everyone is someone in Uttar Pradesh, many family members are in prominent positions in the state.

Source: India Today

This is however not limited only to Uttar Pradesh. Many states in India have now virtually become the ‘Family States’ with a recent example of Telangana.

Transformation to ‘Family States’

The seeds of the dynasty after independence were first sown at the national level when Nehru-Gandhi family captured the top profiles of the country. India saw its first Prime Minister in Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru whose family continues to rule Indian politics even today. However, this trend then started getting repeated in the states too which over a period of time started appearing as the ‘Family States’ or in which the families had their writs running unchecked.

  • Tamil Nadu – ‘Karunanidhi Family’
  • Odisha – ‘Patnaik Family’
  • Jammu & Kashmir – ‘Abdullah Family’
  • Uttar Pradesh – ‘Mulayam’s Family’
  • Haryana – ‘Chautala Family’
  • Bihar – ‘Lalu Family’
  • Telangana – ‘KCR Family’
  • Maharashtra – ‘Pawar Family’
  • Rajasthan – ‘Pilot Family’
  • Madhya Pradesh – ‘Scindia Family’
  • Karnataka – ‘Devegowda Family’
  • Assam – ‘Gogoi Family’

These are examples of some of the most popular and influential political dynasties in India. There can be others too which can be added to the list.

How the Dynasty Affects the Nation’s Development Negatively
  • A study titled ‘Understanding the economic impacts of political dynasties: evidence from India’ by Siddharth George & Dominic Ponattu suggested that constituencies where dynasts win grow 6.5 percentage points slower per year than the constituencies won by non-dynasts. This study employed the increasingly used method of night time luminosity, proxy for local economic activity.
  • Further, sense of amassing wealth is high among the dynastic families to continue having their influence.

Below are some of the incidents where dynastic families have been alleged or punished in corruption cases.

  • Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi are out on bail in the alleged National Herald case. There are also reports that allegedly link them to AgustaWestland scam. Apart from this, during the dynastic rule of the Congress Party, many scams have come to light.
  • Lalu Prasad Yadav, former Chief Minister of Bihar has already been convicted in the Fodder Scam.
  • Om Prakash Chautala, former Chief Minister of Haryana is serving 10 years term in jail for his involvement in the Teacher’s recruitment scam.
  • According to reports, Ajit Pawar can be arrested anytime in the alleged Irrigation scam which has been pegged at Rs. 72,000 crores.

India has long suffered due to the poor governance of dynasties. In fact, the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 was India’s answer to the rejection of dynasty and its politics and its choice for faster development. In the last 4 years, India has come a long way but can still not be said to have come out of the dynastic politics completely. But the recent trends as seen in Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana and Bihar where people have chosen ‘development’ over ‘dynasty’ show that India will no longer accept the ‘Family States’. It is a positive trend towards building up of a ‘New India’. This behavioural change in the people can also be attributed to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who ran a relentless campaign against dynastic politics.