Recently, I had a frantic search for word ‘dynocracy’ in Google Search as a form of government as the term came to mind when I was reading a news story on the offer of Aam Aadmi Party and Shive Sena party tickets to Utpal Parrikar, the son of former BJP Chief Minister of Goa late Manohar Parrikar, who has been denied BJP ticket to contest for ensuing state assembly election. I did not find presence of the term ‘dynocracy’ in the list of form of governments where totalitarian, autocracy, oligarchy, monarchy, democracy, communism, socialism, aristocracy, theocracy, etc. etc. human civilization has so far experienced. Finally, I decided to include ‘dynocracy’ in the above list as a form of government as I am convinced that this effort of this author will be rightly accepted as Indian politics has slowly but steadily been marching towards ‘dynocracy’ form of governance, a new one. All fans of Indian democracy and political scientists -world over- are requested to read this column before passing their judgment whether to include ‘dynocracy’ in the above list of form of government or not.
Then, what is ‘dynocracy’, means definition of it like other form of government has? The definition of ‘dynocracy’ is very short and simple. This is ‘democratically elected dynasty that rules the state’ or dynasty plus democracy make ‘dynocracy’ or a few families get the right to rule getting elected either uninterrupted or alternatively as seen in New Delhi with rules of NehruGandhi dynasty for decades and between Abdullah and Mufti in Srinagar, between Naidu and Reddy in Amaravati (Andhra), etc.
The word dynocracy has not been invented and not in use so far simple because in all democracies except India, there is no dynasty/political families that use to get perpetually elected election after election generation after generation for decades in length like for examples India has NehruGandhi dynasty in national capital, and in state capitals, Abdullah-Mufti dynasties in Srinagar, Badal-Singh in Punjab, Hooda-Chautala in Haryana, Gehlot-Pilot-Raje in Jaipur, Solanki in Gandhi Nagar, Pawar-Thackray-Chauhan in Mumbai, Gowda-Bomai in Bangaluru, Karunakaran in Tiruvanathpuram, Karunanidhi in Chinnai, Reddy-Naidu in Andhra, Rao in Hyderabad, Patnaik in Bhubaneswar, Scindia-Singh in Bhopal, Yadav-Mayawati-Chaudhury in Lucknow, Yadav in Patna, Soren in Ranchi, Banarjee in Kolkata, Sagma in Shillong, Gogoi in Dispur, etc. There may be some missings in the above list. But the majority and prominent political dynasties are covered.
Also all political parties are greatly infected with political dynasties, but not to that extent Left parties so far. Left parties are not so infected with dynocracy virus, may be because they are in sinking boats as communism as a form of government has lost its shine. However, it is difficult to ignore Kerala’s Left Front government led by CPIM’s Panarayi Vijayan’s promotion of his son-in-law. Possibility of Pinarayi promoting his son-in-law, who is now hold senior cabinet position despite being elected to state assembly for first time, to build his dynasty lineage as seen in communist ruled North Korea and Cuba cannot be ruled out.
Even majority of political parties, except the so-called Rightist and Leftist, including grand old party and almost all regional political outfits are headed and one can confidently say owned by dynasties, and have been run as family enterprises in more or less corporate style at a time when corporate honchos, who are in fact built their enterprises on their own, thinking to hand over their enterprises to professionals if we go by the year back announcement of mining and metal behemoth Vedanta’s Chairman Anil Agrawal that he might not hesitate to chose professional over family member to lead his business, post retirement. Again when corporate honcho think for their retirement, politicians carry their power position to their death bed, the tradition started by Nehru, the first PM and head of government, though he persuaded first President of India, the head of state having no executive power, to not go for third term following American practice where the President is both head of government and head of state.
Let us now discuss the evolution and grooming of political enterprises which contributes to establishment of ‘dynocracy’. In the world’s first and oldest constitutional democracy, in US, though there was no number of term restriction constitutionally to be elected to The White House, yet no President till F. D. Roosevelt wished to get elected beyond second term -despite many of them were enjoying unprecedented charisma- thus prevented personalization and subsequently familisation of US’s body politics as seen in India within second decade of self-rule, started in late 1950s when Nehru appointed his daughter as Congress Party President, and 1960s when Indira utilized Nehru’s personalization and familisation to dominate in the party affairs and grabbed the power as soon as opportunity for the same came (I am not discussing the Tashkent file of film-maker Vivek Agnihotri) and that later facilitated dynasty politics. What happened in Congress Party later, all political observers in India and abroad know. Now, the party is in such a state that many prominent leaders are bowing before the family owner despite it is a known fact that latter is not capable of reviving the party on the face of cut-throat competition from BJP.
Now, let us discuss how the dynasty politics that originated in grand old party spread its wings to other parties and country’s body politics. Post independent, literally there was no political party in India which had Congress Party kind spread throughout length and breadth of India. BJP, now the largest national level party, is late 20th Century phenomena. However, there were a few regional parties including Akali Dal in Punjab in North India and DMK in Tamilnadu in peninsula India’s southern end. These two parties started with socio-cultural-religious and regional/state aspirations, but over the years of time -one can now say- they became families owned parties meeting families/dynasties aspirations generation after generation.
Being inspired by dynasty politics of these two regional parties and grand old party, many other politicians started their personal ideology based parties such as Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP), Socialist Party(SP), Telugu Desam Party(TDP), Nationalist Congress Party(NCP), etc. BSP started by dalit leader Kanshi Ram to emancipate dalit’s socio-economic status, but now the party has reduced to Maywati’s family corporate who usurped Kanshi Ram legacy after his death and allegedly sale party tickets to fatten her family coffer and decorate her with precious metal in rallies. And SP started by some eminent socialist leaders from Congress Party led by Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia is now owned by Akhilesh Yadav who has not only usurped socialist philosophy of founders but also ousted his own father from the party, who usurped his party predecessors’ legacies to make it a family fiefdom, in style and manner comparable with medieval Mughal era palace coup(Aurangzeb-Shahjahan).
In this regard, a very interesting incident happened in Odisha after the death of legendary and charismatic Janata Dal leader Biju Patnaik. During his life time, he did not allow any of his family members to enter politics. But, after his death, his followers in Janata Dal brought in his son Naveen Patnaik from political nowhere and installed him as party president forming a regional outfit called Biju Janata Dal(BJD). Later, BJP, which was desperately searching for a foothold in Odisha joined them, and together they contested several elections till 2009 with unprecedented successes. Now, most of the Biju loyalists have been evicted from the party, and BJP is not in alliance, yet BJD is growing formidable in the state. Though Naveen is single like PM Modi, BSP’s Maywati and TMC’s Mamata, yet he has not brought in any of his family members to party politics to inherit the party like Maywati and Mamata. But Naveen is promoting dynasties if one goes by the party ticket distribution. Recently, per example, he gave party ticket to Rudra Pratap Maharathi to contest in by-election necessitated by death of his father Pradeep Maharathi.
Sometimes, it comes to my mind that bachelor PM Modi is strongly opposed by non-BJP parties and several of his party colleagues because he is dead against dynasty politics in letter and spirit as he himself does not allow any of his family members to enter into politics. It is different matter that whether any of his family members have shown interest in politics or not. His political opponents with dynasty ambition might be thinking that Modi is creating a precedent detrimental to dynasty politics or dynocray by way of not allowing BJP to be owned neither by him –the supreme leader in the BJP at present-, nor by anybody else. He did not give party ticket to Utpal Parrikor. Earlier, he denied party ticket to Yashwant Sinha, who later turned a bitter critics of Modi, though his son, a brilliant economist Jayant Sinha was offered party ticket and won twice consecutively to Parliament and holds important position in governance since then. But, the political environment in India has come to such a state now that it is difficult to avoid dynasty politics. The same BJP has offered tickets to mother-son duo Menaka Gandhi and his son Varun, welcomed dynasty product Jyotiraditya Scindia from Congress while fighting against dynasty politics of Vasundhara Raje Scindia in Jaipur in BJP itself. And not long ago, BJP virtually backed Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar and Badal’s in Punjab, and had alliance with dynasty owned TDP and LJP.
In view of the above, why not gets a brand new term for new form of government in ‘dynocracy’ to better describe the prevailing so-called democracy in India than hypocritically clinging to democracy?