Dynasty politics runs deep in India, it has been rooted in the DNA of politicians here and they do not seem to leave any stone unturned to make their children the ones who are next to ascend the family political throne. But one thing to note is that the heirs who have inherited a thrifty political career from their political stalwart parents have more often than not failed. These new generation leaders took the reins of the party in their hands amid much fanfare and enthusiasm, but due to their surface-level knowledge of politics and not able to gauge the public opinion clearly, they immersed themselves and their party’s fortunes in deep waters. Being born with a silver spoon does not guarantee success in politics.
The first name that comes across our mind is Akhilesh Yadav. He is the son of Mulayam Singh Yadav and the Samajwadi Party president since 2017. Yadav, a postgraduate in environmental engineering from the University of Sydney, made his political debut in May 2009 Lok Sabha by-election. It was a relatively easy entry for him as obviously his dad handed him the ticket. It was clear from his entry that Akhilesh was the chosen one, the scion of Yadav clan to usher the SP in its new dawn. His beginner’s luck was shining bright on him as he became the 33rd Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh at the young age of 38, winning 224 seats in the March 2012 assembly elections. Though the command of the party was still in the hands of Mulayam Singh but buoyed by his unprecedental win in the elections, he started vying for his father’s post, And that was when the doomsday clock started ticking for SP.
Leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav who were always considered adept in their politics of casteism used this formula effectively and continued their winning march by keeping “Mandal commission” and “Ram Mandir” at the centre stage of their politics which was not morale at all, but it sure as hell worked. New generation of leaders like Akhilesh had no knowledge of ground politics and in the pursuit of achieving everything in the minimum possible time, he made a mess of things and took SP with himself in the downfall. The situation is so grim for Yadav that even after tying up with its arch-rival BSP, SP could only muster 5 seats in the LS elections. His entire time was spent in bickering with his uncle Shivpal and due to his lack of charisma as a leader, the Samajwadi Party is now in a freefall
Tej Pratap Yadav of Rashtriya Janata Dal, the high-profile heir of controversial Lalu Prasad Yadav also took the fortunes of RJD down the drain after inheriting the party. The ambition of capturing the legacy of his father Lalu Prasad Yadav, jailed in the fodder scam and differences with his brother Tejaswi seemed too hard for Tej Pratap to handle. In the Lok Sabha elections, the leadership battle between the Lalu family became one of the main reasons for RJD’s defeat. The RJD performed dismally in the elections and did not even win a single seat in the state. Before the announcement of LS elections, there was a clear rift between Misa Bharti, Tej Pratap Yadav, Tejaswi Yadav, all within the RJD family. After being marginalized in the family, he was seen losing his hold on the party.
Be it ticket distribution or election campaign, Tejaswi was seen dominating his elder brother. Misa Bharti also had aspirations of sitting on the family throne from the beginning. The suicidal trio threw the legacy (tainted-legacy) of Lalu Prasad Yadav into the trash-can. Lalu might be in jail today due to his massive corruption scams, but he definitely carved a niche and a place in the regional politics of Bihar, which has been his biggest achievement that his children are hell-bent on destroying.
Another name that comes in this episode is of West Bengal’s CM Mamata Banerjee’s nephew i.e. Abhishek Banerjee. He is a Trinamool Congress MP from Diamond Harbor. The 31-year-old Abhishek is also the national president of the youth wing of All India Trinamool Congress. There have been many allegations of corruption against him. Mamata wants him to take over the baton from her and is projecting him as her potential heir. However, senior leaders of the TMC have expressed their unhappiness over the whole fiasco.
When we talk about dynasty and failure, it is mandatory to come up with a name and that is perennial and warms our heart with joy, the Congress party-prince, Rahul Gandhi. Son of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul was made the vice president of the Congress in the year 2013 and it was given that he would become the party president at some time, which he eventually did. At that time, Congress had a total of 207 seats in the Lok Sabha, which has been reduced to 52 in the year 2019 after he became the president.
The list can go on and on about the heirs that have ruined the legacy of their political families due to incompetence of their leadership which has rendered their parties completely irrelevant in the modern and ever-changing political landscape. Leaders have to understand that in politics, popularity is not inherited but the leaders have to make a place in the hearts of people with their actions.