Dynasty in Politics: How much is too much?

September 25, 2009

At a recent family gathering, a cousin of mine expressed her desire to be a doctor. Not surprising, considering her parents are both in the same profession, and run a prominent hospital. It seems only natural that she will take the baton forward.

However, to get there, she will still have to go through the grind. Study for at least six years, serve in a rural posting, burn the midnight oil and gain some experience before she can fulfil her dream.

Rajendra Shekhawat has a similar story. He also wants to take up his mother’s profession and take on the baton, so to speak. The difference is that he may not necessarily have to go through the grind. His mother, Pratibha Patil, after all, is the President of India and Shekhawat has been given a ticket by the Congress party to fight the assembly elections from Amravati in northern Maharashtra, one of India’s biggest states.

“My family has been in the Congress for 40 years. My mother has worked for this party. My father has held several posts for the party”, Shekhawat was quoted as saying by the CNN-IBN news channel.

He isn’t the only one. Reports say many more leaders are gunning for tickets for their children or siblings in the forthcoming elections for the Maharashtra assembly. Poonam Mahajan, daughter of late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, is contesting elections from the Ghatkopar assembly seat.

Dynastic politics isn’t a new phenomenon in Indian politics, but it has become an increasingly wide-reaching one in recent times. Almost every political party has leaders whose sons and daughters have entered politics, most of them without much political experience.

Rahul Gandhi, of course leads the pack, but there are several more, all of them cutting across party lines. And while every party criticises “dynastic politics” in their manifesto, they turn around and practice the same credo when it comes to their own sons and daughters. Of course that isn’t to say that these sons and daughters may not do well in politics, but aren’t they getting an unfair advantage over other political hopefuls?

What do you think? Should you get a ticket just because your parents have worked for a particular party?


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Its one of the Negative sign for India’s growth. He is totally unfit and not eligible to rule our country. Must be stopped at this stage.

Posted by Kannan | Report as abusive

my father’s an I.A.S officer, he has served under the govt. of india for 30 yrs, he has also held several signicant posts during this period and contributed significantly towards social development. Does this mean ( acc. to shekhawat) that i’m entiltled to a free seat in the indian beauracracy without going thru the gruelling entrance process.Like every other indian Shekhawat has to prove his mettle first and not live off his parents’ reputation .

Posted by abhishek | Report as abusive

I think it is not a good idea to have dynasty politics, it will breed corruption and favortisim. It is also not healthy practice, for a country to develop and prosper you need fresh ideas and change. After all it is democracy not a monarchism.I think any country will only prosper with well laid out laws and freedom of speech, expression and to live.

Posted by Neo | Report as abusive

Dy”nasty” politics is everywhere.. we atleast in India have to live with it.

Posted by Suresh | Report as abusive

What is this ‘gruelling entrance process’ into indian politics ? There is None.So first, we the people have to say — Have a min qualification to be eligible to get into politics – A bachelors degree plus atleast 3 years of involvement in local/regional politics.I think Dynasty politics is ok – if the candidate is right. I had issues with Rajiv Gandhi, but he approached the people like no one did and he was leading india to growth. There were issues like Bofors, but every country has them.Today, i think Rahuk Gandhi is a good candidate to be India’s PM. And he is working for that – he is working to build his party, he is working in every region in india — Name me any politician who is doing this today, Or even done this in the past.BJP sucks big time, not even worthy for me to comment.Who is our next world leader ?

Posted by marap, SanJose, CA | Report as abusive

I would like put forward a different issue on this topic. Let me be clear that I would not encourage dynasty in politics. As far as the comments so far one need to pass upsc exams for being an IAS and there are several medical colleges that certify a person as a doctor, but are there any to certify a politician? What is the criteria followed by the parties to select its candidates(not only the ones under the umbrella of the dynasty)? Have the procedure been transparent anytime? So we should first define the criteria that defines a true politician and we should ask the parties to be entirely transparent in selecting the candidates.

Posted by brainythinker | Report as abusive

I think it is good to some extend, again unique to different cases. To Rahul Gandhi, I don’t have problem to see him as a No 1 in congress. He well deserves it. His family has made so much contribution that they deserve special consideration which is not the case for the two times MP’s son or a Chief Minister’s sibling. Inherited aristocracy from generations, rich family traditions can enlighten people especially motivate them to do more for the country and sympathetic to common people’s life. But the rises of opportunistic political dynasties are bad omen for a country. I would put Advanis, Mahajens or Lallus or Mullayalm singh or Jayalalithas as such people. But again the question is can you stop such shooting starts in a democracy – It is hard…..

Posted by Appu | Report as abusive

It’s a shame that we keep harping on the need for fresh blood in politics, but the only fresh blood that comes in has already been there and done it all.This is the sad part of politics. The old hags will not let anyone come take their place, unless it’s family.Nobody wants to let the power go out of their (family’s) hands!

Posted by amreekandesi | Report as abusive

What is required today to become a leader? You must be popular in your area. You have to have muscle power (In other word you must be a real gunda who can do anything). With this logic, politics is not for any common man. it is for only gundas.

Posted by Nita | Report as abusive

It seems to be that the people of India accepted dynasty politics very well. In case of Rahul Gandhi he merely appeared as marketing manager of Congress Party, without any meaningful contributions to the country. It can be explained by his journey on general compartment, his unannounced visits to UP to mention a few. You cannot heard him except for this advertising campaigns for Congress. I have no other idea except this trendsetting news about Rahul Gandhi or am I missing the real news about Rahul Gandhi’s real constructive approach. They even seems to suppress their personal news for political benefits. In my opinion if a politician was embroiled in a scam or controversy that should be an end to his political career irrespective of their dynasty. In case of Shekawat, the President of India is supposed to be apolitical. Dont you think it is confict of interests if son of President of India is in politics supporting the ruling party. It is take for granted Congress approach practiced for decades since Independence, which should be condemned

Posted by sri | Report as abusive

I would like to mention a important side effect of dynasty politics. In every state it seems to be that we have —-Gandhi international airport, —–Gandhi some programme. Dont we have enough freedom fighters or leaders who fought for their country in different fields in different states for different causes to name our landmarks except Gandhis. It is quite deplorable condition we reached now, we were killing our own history in promoting dynasty politics by ignoring other great prominent leaders

Posted by sri | Report as abusive

We need change, which could never be provided by any inherited, or evergreen-politicians. Let’s make mandatory 1 or 2 term to serve, so new people will enter and change our country automatically. At least the power and other they enjoy will be distributed to many in a democratic country.

Posted by ram | Report as abusive

Because of such kind of leadership, we are facing a lot of problem in India, even after 60 years of Independent.People can claim the same whose family fought for India in 1857, in 1962, in 1965, in 1972, in Kargil and died for this country. But they can not do it as they know how to sacrifice themself for their mother land India.People do no have water and food in the country and these leaders are enjoying with the rose flowers.

Posted by A.Y. | Report as abusive

i think again we are moving towards the monacrhy system of governance. only difference is that, this time we literate and foolish are not able to understand where we are moving. Because we are doing what exactly the political parties want from us. None the less i think any how congress will manage the win of Mr. Shekhawat so that they can make us blind.

Posted by narendra patidar | Report as abusive

Well I have a good news and a bad news. Roul is bachelor and if he remains so, he should be last generation. But Priyanka has kids who are being taught Gandhigiri right before anything else. There you go, did your hopes come crashing down after skyrocketing?

Posted by Rohit | Report as abusive

Let’s not live in a utopia.Who gets the best breaks in films?….kids of established stars.Who gets the best breaks in life?….kids of the well to do with the help of management quotas in institutions of higher education.Kids of doctors do easily become doctors with the use of Management Quotas and donations.Politics or rather Public life, is a high risk, high Investment game.Can a layman afford it?Redefine “Democracy” please.

Posted by R K SHARMA | Report as abusive

no just because your parents have been in politics for long one should not get the ticket. this deprives the deserving candidates and also demotivates people to enter politics

Posted by aditi dadhich | Report as abusive

dynasty in Politics is every where, And why restrict to Children ?You have Rabri-Lalu in Bihar…I always wonder who is Lal Bahadur Shastri’s son and grandons, and where are they ?I always wonder why we always discuss Gandhi.. when actually none of them is a real Gandhi…I always wonder why people only discuss and don’t act…I always wonder…Why we as Indian don’t see the challenges we have and the problems.I always wonder where all the leaders are gone…Anyways, who is John Galt ?

Posted by Naresh Gupta | Report as abusive

I am an Indian. I am proud to be born in India after it got freedom from colonial rule !!I am sad to see the sons and daughters of the politicians, one after the other, cling to politics and capture positions of power and become corrupt, amass huge money in deposit it in Swiss banks. Most of these men and women do not qualify for a simple Clark jobs, if they are recruited impartially ( with due respect to the job)!!It is like cancer to India !!I only can pray Almighty, to completely eradicate this dangerous situation.I request people to resist this situation !!Jai Hind !!

Posted by K.R.Murty | Report as abusive

It’s fine as this country of ‘idiots’ don’t deserve any good leaders. All they do is keep blaming the leaders for everything. Why do they elect those leaders then? If their answer is ‘they have no choice’ then do they make any attempt to find and encourage political parties/leaders who are sincere? A Big NO!The people of this country want ‘tamasha’ from political leaders which they don’t get by sincere politicians. Inspite of education, people keep electing idiots as they don’t use their brains/votes during elections and get carried away by the hype.

Posted by Bindaas | Report as abusive

If that should be the case then why not make Jaganmohan Reddy the CM?

Posted by r | Report as abusive

It is very unfortunate that Political Family is trying to accrue the whole dynasty of Indian Politics. There are not only Congress but also BJP and other regional Parties who are given tickets to their leaders family to participate in the election. There is an urgent need to bring up the young educated and honest politicians for the welfare of the country and Indian Politics.

Posted by Pradip Ghatak | Report as abusive