Rahul Gandhi is now vice president of the Congress party. Anyone who has been following Indian politics will know that this was inevitable. Despite royal titles having been abolished, Indians can’t seem to give up on the idea of dynastic rule.
Whether it’s politics, business, or even Bollywood, Indians seem to have trust issues with anyone who is not their offspring, preferring to hand over the reins to their sons and daughters, irrespective of whether they might be deserving or not. The desire to make it merely on the basis of family name is reflected in a commonly heard boast at parties or dinner conversation: “Do you know who my father is?”
The Nehru-Gandhi family is of course the most prominent political dynasty in the country with four generations of the family having ruled the country, but they are not the only ones. There are several dynasties across party lines all over the country. Here are some of them:
The Yadavs: Mulayam Singh Yadav, for long one of the most prominent leaders in Uttar Pradesh, handed over the reins of the state to his son Akhilesh Yadav when the party won elections in the state last year. Akhilesh had been a member of parliament but never held any state government post. He became the youngest chief minister of UP at the age of 38.
The Thackerays: One of Sonia Gandhi’s fiercest critics, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray slammed her and her family for running a “fiefdom” and then went ahead and did exactly the same thing. In 2004, Thackeray declared son Uddhav, a political novice, as leader of his right-wing party which has strong roots in Maharashtra. This angered another family member – nephew Raj – who left to form his own party. Uddhav, meanwhile, is carrying on in the footsteps of his father – grooming his son Aditya to take control of the party in the future.