National Interest: One dynasty dimming
You have to assess Rahul Gandhi’s recent Jaipur speech in this perspective. It tugged immediately at fellow partymen’s heartstrings, but made little impact beyond. So here is the answer to the first half of our question: the dynasty has become even stronger within the Congress, with not even a whiff of discontent of the kind Nehru (occasionally), Indira (twice and substantively so) and Rajiv (most significant of all) faced. The dynasty owns the party as never before. But its pan-national vote-catching appeal is history. At least for now.
The Gandhi family has lost its pan-national appeal because several new dynasties — at least 15 of them politically significant — have risen in key electoral zones of India. Each one of these now has a strong, proprietary votebank and total ownership of its party. A pan-national dynasty no longer has the ability to breach these fortresses. From the Abdullahs in Kashmir, Badals in Punjab, Mulayam Singh in Uttar Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu and Jaganmohan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh, Karunanidhi in Tamil Nadu, Gowdas in Karnataka, the Thackerays and Pawars in Maharashtra, Lalu in Bihar to Naveen Patnaik in Orissa and the Sangmas in distant Meghalaya, all represent dynasties that may be limited by geography but cannot be challenged by a national party. So