An analysis of the strength of outgoing Assemblies in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has revealed that the BJP has a higher number of dynasts in their ranks than the Congress party in MP while Congress leads the pack in Chhattisgarh.
Political dynasties have been among the issues most widely used during election campaigns. The issue repeatedly found mention in Prime Minister’s campaigning in states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh that went to polls. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah have taken on the Congress party for promoting dynastic rule, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao came under attack from Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for favouring his family in government jobs.
An analysis of the strength of outgoing Assemblies in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has revealed that the BJP has a higher number of dynasts in their ranks than the Congress party in MP while Congress leads the pack in Chhattisgarh. However, the grand old party extends the lead by a wide margin when it comes to dynasts as a share of lawmakers, an analysis by The Indian Express revealed.
How dynasts figure in outgoing Assembly
The outgoing Madhya Pradesh Assembly has BJP in majority with 165 lawmakers in the 230-member Assembly. Out of the 165 MLAs, 20 are dynasts, a term used for the one who has had a close family member related by blood or marriage in active politics. With 58 members in the MP Assembly, Congress party has 17 dynasts and it tops the chart with highest percentage of dynasts (29 per cent) as a share of party’s MLAs. BJP has 12 per cent dynasts.
The dynastic politics is in initial stages in Chhattisgarh, a state carved out of Madhya Pradesh in the year 2000. The outgoing Chhattigarh Assembly with 90 lawmakers has nine dynasts — three of them belonging to BJP and six from Congress, including Amit Jogi who was expelled from the party last year and is now part of his father Ajit Jogi’s JCC.
What dynasts say
The analysis found these dynasts split on the benefits: Some believe that the proven track record of their father or mother provides them a necessary headstart, others complain a higher bar of expectation for them. BJP MLA from Betul and the son of late BJP MP Vijay Khandelwal, Hemant Khandelwal believes that it works both the ways. Hemant told IE: “If one doesn’t have any identity, he will fade out. If one’s identity is established as somebody’s son then the bar of expectations is even higher. If you don’t belong to a political family, the expectations are much lower than expectations. If you are on a par or even better, people will accept you.”
Current trend in dynastic politics
The analysis also revealed a trend in the dynastic politics prevalent in the country. New York University professor of politics Kanchan Chandra in ‘Democratic Dynasties’, the book he edited, noted that the first Madhya Pradesh Assembly election in the year 1957 saw 20 of the 23 elected dynastic politicians belonged to the royal or aristocratic families. After 61 years, the only difference is that there are few aristocratic members and more from other segments. Rajasthan has 23 of the 160 BJP MLAs and eight of the 25 Congress MLAs dynasts.
Positive of dynastic politics
May be an unintended positive but dynastic politics has witnessed a healthy representation of women. Of the dynastic MLAs, 19 of them are women with 14 belonging to BJP and 5 to Congress. The list includes Renu Jogi, who is contesting polls for Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC) founded by her husband and former Chhattisgrah CM Ajit Jogi.
Another prominent face in the list is Rajasthan Chief Minister and BJP leader Vasundhara Raje Scindia, who is the daughter of the former Maharaja of Gwalior and the late Vijaya Raje Scindia. The Scindia family has managed to have a successful run in politics for generations across the parties in both Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Yashodhara Raje Scindia, who is the sister of Vasundhara Raje, is the Madhya Pradesh Sports Minister.
“My mother was revered by everyone across the political spectrum. It’s a legacy I am proud of. Expectations were very high. You have to work doubly hard. Today’s politics has changed by 180 degrees. The yardstick to judge me is very different. Today’s generations don’t have any memories of her. Your performance and work gets you votes, not the name,” Yashodhara told IE.