IS INDIAN DEMOCRACY BECOMING DYNASTYCRACY?




Recently Loksabha data shows that many Member of Parliament comes from political dynasties or background. Since 1999, the India National Congress has had 36 dynastic Member of Parliament elected to the Lok Sabha, with the BJP not far behind with 31 Member of Parliament.

Dynastic Politics in India:

A succession of rulers or people or group from the same family or line who maintains power for several generations can be defined as basic definition. Dynastic politics, usually presumed to be the antithesis of democracy, which is a routine aspect of politics in many modern democracies.

The emergence of political dynasties in democratic societies, particularly in consolidating democracies, has raised concerns among democratic activists, policymakers, and academics. By analyzing the emergence of political dynasties at the subnational level, this paper explores the underlying causes of the formation of political dynasties and the political mechanisms that enable dynastic politicians to preserve and to extend their power in consolidating democracies. Additionally, this paper examines dynastic variations within a democracy, i.e., why some families are able to build political dynasty

For politicians, politics offers a chance for increasing returns at every level like money, status, employment, perks, so those who are powerful get their families into politics too. But if politics turns out to be a bad investment, powerful families will also have members in local, national, legislative and private sectors to spread risk. Even opposition within a family – brother vs. brother or father vs. son – is to diversify risk. In a zero sum game of politics, it’s a win-win strategy. Every political move can be rationally analyzed. It is not politics, it is political science.

The political dynasties that exist in India are a product of democracy in India. Although many people will just think of the Nehru/Gandhi family when dynasty in India is mentioned, it is worth noting that in 2014 twenty percent of Indian parliamentarians were dynastic the first of these “democratic dynasties” emerged sometime around 1960s. In comparison, earlier dynasties, royal dynasts— the aristocratic Maharajas of the pre-democratic India, made up only two percent of Indian parliamentarians in 2014. The competition between the old aristocracy and new democrats is traced back to the 1952 Rajasthan election. A crucial insight is how rivals learnt from each other’s marketing tactics: the aristocracy learned how to make democratic appeals, while the Democrats learned how to draw on tradition and history to garner votes. These royal dynasties have continued to feed on low income, unschooled rural communities ever since but they face complete extinction with urbanization. However, the democratic dynasts are going strong, seemingly proving immune to modernization. In India, data shows that people continue to prefer dynasts over non-dynasts.


Is dynastic politics good or bad for the country?

With national elections over, every political party is busy making its strategy against the other. And now-a-days every party is attacking the other about dynastic politics; son taking over the reins after his father and so on. Though there are such leaders in almost every political establishment who have followed the footsteps of their family members to enter into politics. But whether it is good or bad for the country. Below are some points which needs attention and dialogues- Good for the nation 1. In dynastic politics, the person entering into politics already holds a lot of experience about the work he/she is ought to do and is not a novice as he has already seen his family working in the same direction. 2. If a person who comes after his father or any other family member, commits any mistake there is a lot of help and advice which he can receive from his elders and review the mistakes committed. 3. Dynastic politics isn’t a sign of lack of capability. We can’t conclude that the person doesn’t have ability to enter politics and is there only because of his family strongholds. 4. In dynastic politics there is no fight for the successor of power; this helps in escaping the fight and grudges among the contenders for the top position. Thus resulting into stability in governance. 5. There is a personal aspect to dynastic politics. When a family continues ruling, there is this sort of bond created between the nation and the rulers and they work into symbiotic relation. 6. All over the world, dynastic politics has given some brilliant politicians; even in India. 7. Dynastic politics may lower the entry barrier but ultimately it is the performance of the individual which gets him to the top and the responsibility passes on to the successor. Bad for the Nation 1. Dynastic politics enables only those leaders who have strong connections to come forward and take the charge irrespective of the ability of that person, thus ignoring the right potential. 2. Dynastic politics discourages young and new talents to come forward and join politics which keeps deserving crowd away from polirics. 3. There is very less public participation in dynastic politics and people have very less or no option to choose as a leader and get influenced by the big family. 4. In many nations where there is dynastic rule, absence of democracy has been observed like in gulf nations. 5. At times, less capable or even incapable leaders are imposed upon the nation in the name of dynasty which hampers the country progress. 6. Dynastic politics in a country like India will mar the basic spirit of democracy and our constitution.


Way forward:

2019 General Elections can be seen as reforming stage in Indian politics. For political parties, the concern and, sometimes, the opportunity lie in the fact that the number of first-time voters in India is humungous .According to ECI data, about 2.6 crore young people in the age bracket of 18 to 20 years have already been registered in the electoral rolls. The number is 1.38 crore for the 18-19 age bracket, according to ECI data. The youth are new driving force in curbing dynastic politics.

The relationship between political leaders and the electorate was still very much akin to that between a monarch and his or her subjects. This often translated to a certain deification of the ruling class. The ground has fundamentally shifted in today's India, where an aspirational electorate maintains a more transactional relationship with political leaders. This can be opined by the historical result of elections where Mr Gandhi's defeat in his family borough of Amethi tells us anything, it is that leaders can no longer treat their constituencies like feudal pockets. The state of Bihar also saw its local dynastic family been handed a humiliating defeat.Jyotiraditya Scindia, who comes from the erstwhile royal family of Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh state, also lost his seat. His father was one of the top leaders of the Congress party, and the family considered Guna constituency its political fortress .Similarly Dimple Yadav w/o ex-chief minister of Akhilesh yadav (who also belong to the big political dynasty of Uttar Pradesh) also faced humiliating defeat. It’s premature to announce the end of political dynasties in India. Even now, political parties across the spectrum, including the BJP have such figures. But what these results do indicate is that leaders can no longer rely solely on the brand appeal of their family names to get past the finish line

These changes pulls for dialogue to bring reform or awareness against the political dynasts and pushes for wider understanding of constructive role of people of this country to shape the development and politics which were earlier considered as the monopoly of big dynasts.

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