With just a few weeks remaining for the 2019 general elections, political parties have changed gears to match pace with their opponents. Debate and discussions over probable candidates have taken the front seat, with parties tying to decide as early and as diligently as they can. Parties such as the DMK coming out with the list of candidates are facing strict scrutiny from voters on social media and other platforms.
With its rapidly evolving political landscape, post a series of makes and breaks in different political parties together with the demise of two tall leaders has made Tamil Nadu the center of interest for many political analysts. The Dravida Munnetra kazhagam (DMK) on Sunday came out with the list of its 20 candidates who will be contesting from Tamil Nadu in the ensuing general election. Stalin released the list of candidates after visiting the mausoleum of his late father and party leader M Karunanidhi at the Marina beach. Featuring the list of candidates were former Union Ministers Dayanidhi Maran, A Raja and T R Baalu and Rajya Sabha member from Tamil Nadu, Kanimozhi.
The list came under fire from many over its dynastic impression, with the majority of candidates being related to past or current leaders of the DMK. The Nehru-Gandhi family considered to be the epitome of dynastic politics in India is getting tough competition from the DMK. SG Suryah tweeted on the issue stating relations of candidates with political families in the DMK. :
Sources: 10 Dynasts to find place in 20 MP seats that DMK will contest. Huge rebellion on ground by non-dynast DMK politicians expected.
— SG Suryah (@SuryahSG) March 17, 2019
When asked about the absence of ordinary party members from the list and inclusion of only ‘Cororepatis’ and relatives of existing leaders in the list, Mk Stalin dismissed it as “the view of the media”. “We have selected candidates, well-qualified and deserving candidates who could win the election” he told reporters.
Dynasty politics has been a matter of serious concern for political analysts over matters of inefficiency and nepotism. Democratic dynasty politics, which gives an unfair edge to the relatives of current leaders, prevents individuals with suitable political capability and capacity from joining the mainstream. The unavailability of alternatives further disadvantages the voters and ultimately dynasty politics perpetuates. Nehru – Gandhi dynasty, the Scindia family, the Abdullah family, Yadavs of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Karunanidhi family, the Mufti families etc form the major portion of democratic Dynasties in India.
Different researchers also point towards similar inferences, Siddharth Eapen George & Dominic Ponattu in their research focused on the Indian political scenario titled ‘Like Father, Like Son? How Political Dynasties Affect Economic Development had pointed “Close families are the worst-performing dynasts”. We also find that dynasts seem to have weaker performance incentives—their vote shares in subsequent elections are less correlated with in-office performance today than is the case for non-dynasts. In this way, inheriting political capital may mute the performance incentives of dynastic politician”
Neglect and silence over democratic dynasties has led to the creation of several influential and powerful political dynasties in India. These dynasties have come under fire after users over social media and other platforms questioned their effectiveness and intentions. The mainstream media for long had been silent over dynasticism has also joined the wagon. Critical evaluation of dynasties with their impact on our democratic structure, economy, society and culture, is indispensable for moving forward in Indian politics.