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Political Dynasty Casts a Shadow on Democracy

Dynastic formation in politics is an underlying recurring paradox of the Indian democracy.


The polemics over the issue of perpetuation of dynastic ambition acquire a new lease of life as and when a member (particularly of the Nehru–Gandhi family) makes an entry into electoral politics in India. The bogey that was recently raised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members, including the Prime Minister, against Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s appointment as the general secretary of the Congress in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, thus, was no exception. The entry into politics of a person with a privileged family background keeps the polemics alive. However, while it appears to cry out for an egalitarian democracy, the effect of the polemics is muted because it is more surreptitious than sincere. As usual, the spokesperson of the BJP seeks to insulate the party from dynastic ambition that undercuts the very egalitarian essence of democracy. But, its own dynastic practices tend to contribute to the production of a paradox for democracy. Thus, while criticising the Congress party for being a dynastic party, the BJP does not tell us as to why its own practice of dynastic politics is qualitatively superior to that of the former.

This response of the BJP is not only hypocritical, but also a knee-jerk one. It fails to account for the negative consequences that the politicisation of dynastic ambition produces for the dual principles of equality and justice that play a cardinal role in deepening the egalitarian content of democracy.

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Updated On : 6th Feb, 2019


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