Although Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) strongly believes that dynastic politics is the “biggest enemy” of our democracy, at the backend it continues to increase its list of dynast leaders. Newly appointed Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai is the latest addition.
After father-son duo HD Deve Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy, Basavraj and his father SR Bommai become the second father-son duo. SR Bommai was the CM of Karnataka in 1988-89.
PM Narendra Modi has been targeting dynastic politics highlighting the fact that it gives rise to a new form of dictatorship in democracy and burdens the country with incompetence.
Contradicting his statement is the long list of dynast leaders inducted into the BJP or his own team of ministers. Some of the prominent names or faces in his, Cabinet include Piyush Goyal, Anurag Thakur, Nirmala Sitharaman, Dharmendra Pradhan, Kiren Rijiju, and Jyotiraditya Scindia.
The BJP has also been strategically promoting dynast leaders within its party and cleverly poaching them from the opposition camps. For instance, in the month of July, Jitin Prasada, son of Congress leader Jitendra Prasada was inducted into the party.
Ahead of the West Bengal elections, Suvendu Adhikari and his father and former union minister Sisir Adhikari were inducted into the party fold. Interestingly, Suvendu was once CM Mamata Bannerjee’s former aide.
However, BJP refutes any such claims and sticks to the point that it practices what it preaches.
National spokesperson of BJP, RP Singh said, “Let’s focus on who runs the show at the party. Amit Shah used to be the president and now it’s JP Nadda, not Shah’s son. No one gets a post in the part based on their political background. Anurag Thakur is another example of a political leader who made it on his own. He progressed through his hard work.”
“However”, Singh added, “when it comes to Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi they have positions because of their lineage – parents and grandmother. Bommai too has been chosen as the CM owing to his capabilities. His political and administrative performance became the deciding factor.”
Arguments surrounding dynast leaders
During the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, Modi, the then BJP’s PM candidate, had catcalled at the Gandhi family, referring to Rahul Gandhi as the prince of the then UPA government, which Modi said was the “Delhi Sultanate”.
Modi, during his campaign in Uttar Pradesh, targeted the Samajwadi Party led by father-son duo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav. “India has been destroyed by the governments of mother-son duo and Uttar Pradesh is destroyed by father-son duo”, said Modi.
In the year 2019, during the Maharashtra and Haryana assembly elections, BJP and Congress were supposedly at loggerheads with each other when it came to fielding dynast leaders. BJP had fielded 29 dynast leaders across Maharashtra and Haryana of which 17 had won, whilst for Congress, the figure stood at 21 from 36.
As per senior Congress leader Pawan Khera, “BJP always had their own dynast leaders Dushyant, Pankaj Singh, Anurag Thakur, Punam Mahajan, Pravesh Verma, Jayant Sinha and more. Now they are also poaching or importing dynasts from other parties. Bommai as CM of Karnataka is another new addition.”
He added, “Considering the figure in toto, BJP has more dynasts than the Congress party. They should now stop targeting the latter party for “dynastic politics”. This is hypocrisy and boring.”
What’s the difference?
A fellow at the Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research Rahul Verma pointed that considering the last three Lok Sabhas, roughly 30 per cent of the MPs are from political families.
As per Verma, the cadre-based parties namely BJP and CPM have lower representation of dynasts, however, these parties have a significant number of politicians from dynastic backgrounds. As far as inducting dynasts is concerned, BJP will continue to do so, as long as they can take advantage of having them on board. At the same time, Verma affirmed that Modi will attack Rahul Gandhi and regional parties for dynastic culture.
“Congress and other regional parties are nature-wise dynastic too – the party(ies) is/are controlled by a single-family. Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress, DMK are classic examples of having their main leader and chief minister from the same part,” pointed Verma.
If more members of the political families continue to be inducted by political parties across the country’s bandwidth then the chances of commoners to enter the political ring will diminish, added Verma.
List of 25 BJP dynasts:
Jyotiraditya Scindia, Union Minister
Scindia is son of late Madhavrao Scindia, former Congress leader and Union minister, and grandson of the late Vijayaraje Scindia, the Jana Sangh/Janata Party/BJP stalwart. He is the Union Minister for Civil Aviation. He rebelled against the Congress in March 2020 and joined the BJP with 22 Congress MLAs, toppling the Kamal Nath government in MP.
Anurag Thakur, Union Minister
Thakur is the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Youth Affairs & Sports, and son of former Himachal Pradesh CM Prem Kumar Dhumal.
Piyush Goyal, Union Minister
Goyal is Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution and Textiles. Late Ved Prakash Goyal, former BJP national treasurer and union minister, was his father.
Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister
Pradhan a Union minister of Education and Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Pradhan is the son of Debendra Pradhan, a BJP leader who also served as a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister
Rijiju was recently made the minister of law and justice and is the son of Rinchin Kharu, who was the first pro-tem speaker of Arunachal Pradesh.
Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister
Sitharaman’s husband, Parakala Prabhakar, was with Congress and contested assembly elections from Andhra Pradesh’s Narsapur on a Congress ticket but was unsuccessful.
Pema Khandu, Chief Minister
Khandu is the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, and son of former state CM Dorjee Khandu.
Suvendu Adhikari, Leader of The opposition, West Bengal assembly
Adhikari is the son of former minister and MP Sisir Adhikari.
Devendra Fadnavis, Leader of Opposition, Maharashtra assembly
The former Maharashtra CM Fadnavis is the son of Gangadharpant Fadnavis, who was a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council. Devendra’s aunt Shoba Fadnavis was a state minister.
Vivek Thakur, MP
Thakur is the son of five-time MP and renowned physician C.P. Thakur, who served as the Union health minister under Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Neeraj Shekhar, MP
Shekhar is the son of former PM Chandra Shekhar was a sitting Rajya Sabha MP from the Samajwadi Party but switched to the BJP and became a member of the Upper House again. He joined the BJP in July 2019.
Nabam Rebia, MP
Former speaker in the Arunachal Pradesh assembly from the Congress, whose brother Nabam Tuki served as CM, Rebia was elected to the Rajya Sabha on a BJP ticket in June 2020.
Parvesh Verma, MP
Son of former Delhi chief minister, Sahib Singh Verma, Pravesh Verma is an MP from the West Delhi Lok Sabha constituency.
Dushyant Singh, MP
He is Lok Sabha MP from Jhalawar-Baran in Rajasthan and son of former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje.
Poonam Mahajan, MP
She is Lok Sabha MP from Mumbai North Central, and daughter of late Union minister Pramod Mahajan.
Jayant Sinha, MP
He is Lok Sabha MP and son of former Union minister Yashwant Sinha.
Varun Gandhi, MP
He is Lok Sabha MP from Pilibhit and son of fellow BJP MP Maneka Gandhi.
Heena Gavit, MP
Heena Gavit is an MP from Nandurbar constituency. She is the daughter of Vijaykumar Gavit, a BJP and former Nationalist Congress Party MLA from the same constituency.
Sunny Deol, MP
His father, Dharmendra, was a BJP MP from Rajasthan.
Rita Bahuguna Joshi, MP
She is the daughter of former Uttar Pradesh CM Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna.
Diya Kumari, MP
Her grandmother Maharani Gayatri Devi was an MP.
Sangeeta Singh Deo, MP
Her husband, Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo, was a Cabinet minister in the Naveen Patnaik government.
B.Y. Raghvendra, MP
He is the son of former Karnataka CM B.S. Yediyurappa.
Pritam Munde, MP
She is the daughter of former union minister late Gopinath Munde.
Pankaj Singh, MLA
Pankaj Singh is an MLA from Noida in Uttar Pradesh and son of Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh