Tuesday, July 23, 2024
HomeOpinionsCongress is the mother of favouritism and dynasty politics

Congress is the mother of favouritism and dynasty politics

Also Read

Dr Bipin B Verma
Dr Bipin B Verma
The author is a retired professor of NIT Rourkela. He follows a nationalistic approach in life. His area of interest is “sustainable rural development”. Email: [email protected]

Establishment of Indian National Congress

After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, control of India was transferred from the East India Company to the British Empire. British rulers worked to justify their governance with the aid of English-educated Indians. AO Hume, a retired British ICS officer, established the Indian National Congress (INC) at Bombay in 1885. The motive behind this move was to strengthen their rule, overcome the discontent and protect their peoples from rebellion movement under the narrative of safety-value theory [1]. The early leadership of the Congress focused mainly on prayer, petition and protest, perhaps to project the party as a well-wisher of the nation. The scenario still has not changed, Congress was set up to defend British territory and the current focus of the entire party is to project and protect the “first family”.

Tilak’s contribution is ignored

Bal Gangadhar Tilak and two other congress leaders, Lala Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal (popularly known as Lal, Bal and Pal), started the extremist phase of INC and focused on mass mobilisation [2].  Tilak’s slogan, “Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it!” inculcated a political conscience among Indians regarding self-rule. He presented a trisutri or three-point programme for national awakening; Swaraj, Swadeshi and Nationalist Education based on vernacular.  He believed in a religious and cultural revival for the true independence of the nation. Tilak was the first mass leader and architect of the Indian Independence Movement. The subsequent leaders adopted some of his approaches for liberation. Despite having significant contributions, he was never recognized in independent India and by the Congress party.

Favouritism by Gandhi

Then there was the emergence of Gandhiji in Indian politics. The untimely and mysterious death of Tilak paved the way to establish MK Gandhi, perhaps a leader planted by British rulers. There are several incidences and actions which puts a question mark on the integrity of Gandhi [3], [4]. While there may not be direct evidence to prove his links to British rulers, there is plenty of indirect evidence that he was actually protecting foreign rulers more than he was serving India’s cause. British rulers invested their machinery and influence in establishing Gandhi as a national leader. In 1939, when Gandhi’s authority was challenged by Subhas Chandra Bose, Gandhi audaciously nominated Dr Pattabhi as the President of the party [5]. In April 1946, 12 out of 15 Pradesh Congress committees nominated Sardar Patel for the post of Congress president, and thereby the first Prime Minister of India. But once again, Gandhi persuaded Sardar Patel to withdraw in favour of his favourite Jawaharlal [6]. It is not unfair to say that Gandhi has pioneered the politics of nepotism and favouritism on Indian soil.

Beginning of dynastic politics

The post-independence government cleverly projected Gandhi as the country’s greatest leader and philosopher. As if this land had never produced a wise thinker and a leader of great integrity. This time the purpose was to use his name to secure and establish the dynasty.  Gandhi’s legacy was continued by the Nehru-Gandhi family.

Kumaraswami Kamaraj was an Indian independence activist and politician who served as the Chief Minister of Madras State (now Tamil Nadu) from 13 April 1954 to 2 October 1963. Nehru brought him to Delhi as the President of the Indian National Congress. After Nehru in 1964, Kamaraj successfully navigated the party during turbulent times. In 1966, after the mysterious death of Lal Bahadur Sastri, Kamaraj manipulated the party’s opinion to elect Indira Gandhi as PM of the nation. The motive behind this political move was to stop ambitious Murarji, to maintain his (Kamaraj’s) hold in the party and to repay Nehru’s debt [7].

It is worth mentioning that Morarji Desai was a freedom fighter and experienced politician (Desai served as chief minister of the state of Bombay from 1952 to 1956) and politically much taller than Mrs Gandhi [8]. Subsequently, Indira Gandhi successfully firmed the roots of the Nehru-Gandhi family in the party. The roots were so deep in the Congress that Rajiv Gandhi was nominated leader of the party and made PM unanimously following the assassination of Mrs Gandhi [9]. A man with no political and public life experience became the prime minister of a great “democratic” nation.

After the emergence of Antonia Maino (Sonia Gandhi) in politics, the situation is so grim that no one can imagine becoming even party president. Significantly, the family is now preparing the ground to push the fifth generation in politics. Rehan Vadra’s (S/o Priyanka Vadra) is renamed as ‘Rehan Rajiv Vadra’. Rehan has also appeared in the Lok Sabha elections on several occasions with his mother in campaigning for his maternal uncle and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi.

Dynastic political families

The Nehru-Gandhi family has the credit of bringing favouritism and dynastic politics to India. The success of dynastic and nepotism in congress encouraged other parties to adopt the same to keep hold in their parties and ensure a secured future of their heirs [10]. Under such leadership, supremo becomes taller than the party and collective leadership at the top is forgotten. The dynastic politics proliferated well in Jammu & Kashmir, where the Abdullahs and the Muftis have dominated politics for decades. M. Karunanidhi enjoyed this supremacy in DMK for almost 50 years between 1969 and 2018.

The culture of dynastic politics has thrived well across political parties and regions.  In Punjab, the Badal family has dominated politics for decades. Parkash Singh Badal, the founder of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), leading the way. Haryana is awash with political families, the most prominent among them is the Chautalas. Shibu Soren’s Jharkhand Mukti Morcha is a well established political force of Jharkhand. Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have their own entrenched sets of political dynasties. Uttar Pradesh is the most crucial state electorally. Mulayam Singh Yadav led Samajwadi Party (SP) is the most well-known dynasty of the state. More than a dozen members of the family are indulged in the active politics of the state. 

The neighbouring province Bihar is also a victim of similar dynastic politics. The Rashtriya Janata Dal, founded in 1997 by Lalu Prasad Yadav, is the most prominent political family of the state. Maharashtra too is riddled with powerful political families. Thackerays of the Shiv Sena are the most prominent family of Maharashtra. The Pawars are yet another powerful political family in the state. Unfortunately, this virus is spreading in all the states and almost all the political parties of India except BJP and the Left parties. There are 34 active political dynasties across 20 states of the nation [11].

Drawbacks of dynastic politics and solution to the problem

Unfortunately, dynastic politics is flourishing practically in the whole nation at the cost of national development and service to the society [12], [13], [14]. The only ideology for a dynastic party is to serve the interests of the supremo. The top leadership also ensures that the command of the party is passed on to his designated heir in the family, either upon his death, retirement or forced retirement. Some of the drawbacks of dynastic politics are presented as follows [15]:

  1. Politics becomes a family business and no longer remains public service.
  2. There is suppression of the talents of other leaders outside the family. The dynasties do not allow others to grow and come to the forefront. In INC the position of Party President is reserved for members of the Gandhi family. In the Samajwadi Party of Uttar Pradesh, the top party positions are occupied by family members of the Yadav family. The situation is not different in Bihar, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and other states ruled by political families.  
  3. Dynastic politics gives rise to a new form of dictatorship and burdens the country with incompetent, inexperienced and usually corrupt leaders to the top positions. It is worth mentioning that such leaderships become ruthless and are indulged in corrupt practices. Generational corruption is a major challenge that has been gradually growing in the country and dynastic politics provide suitable ground for its proliferation and growth. Close analyses of the major scams and scandals in the country in the recent past have close links with political families.
  4. They play caste and class politics and divide society for their survival.
  5. The dynastic politics lead to the creation of elite classes that enjoy a higher status and respect. This undermines democratic principles.

The favouritism and dynastic politics have significantly suppressed the growth of the nation. Some of the following steps may stop dynastic politics in India:

  1. In a democracy, voters elect the leaders. Voters should be conscious and careful and should not elect leaders from political families. Such an act of voters will completely eradicate this disease from the nation.
  2. MPs, MLAs, MLCs etc. get salaries and even pensions from the governments for their work and responsibilities. They are not offering public services, but they are government servants like any other government official. There is a need to define the educational, work experience and personality criteria for the candidates.
  3. The party president should also submit an affidavit that he/she has not offered party tickets because of family ties with the top leadership. The parties should give testimony that inexperienced and corrupt members will not be given tickets.
  4. All elected leaders should be asked to submit their progress and financial report annually.

It is the responsibility of the people and politicians to eradicate corruption, favouritism, nepotism and dynasties from public life.

  Support Us  

OpIndia is not rich like the mainstream media. Even a small contribution by you will help us keep running. Consider making a voluntary payment.

Trending now

Dr Bipin B Verma
Dr Bipin B Verma
The author is a retired professor of NIT Rourkela. He follows a nationalistic approach in life. His area of interest is “sustainable rural development”. Email: [email protected]
- Advertisement -

Latest News

Recently Popular