National Interest: One dynasty dimming
Put more simply then, dynastic politics is now on the decline, yet the phenomenon has acquired deeper roots. Dynastic hold on India’s politics has declined and grown at the same time. These conflicting political cross-currents have brought about a fundamental shift in our politics. They have hurt the Congress most of all. Ask any Congress leader who contests elections (unlike its star cast of chronic Rajya Sabhaists) and they will admit to you, albeit in whispers and fearfully glancing left and right, that the days when the Gandhi family could win them their seats are over. In the elections, now, it is every man for himself. So those who nurse their constituencies, or have local, caste-based or family vote banks, win their seats. Of course, it helps if the Gandhis visit to campaign as it endorses them within the party. But beyond that, their ability to win seats beyond the Amethi-Rae Bareli enclave has diminished to insignificance.
I asked a senior (and always elected) Congress leader, then why was the Gandhi family still so important and had total sway over the party. He said, surely they cannot help anybody win elections, but they keep the party together.