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Home Opinions The decimation of dynasties: The Modi tsunami has swept away kings and their clans

The decimation of dynasties: The Modi tsunami has swept away kings and their clans

The sheer audacity of dynasts clutching at the powerful positions and denying hard working party members their due just because of their surname has to be crushed. And the mandate in 2019 has established the foundation of just that.

सब से विराट जनतंत्र जगत का आ पहुंचा,
तैंतीस कोटि-हित सिंहासन तय करो
अभिषेक आज राजा का नहीं,प्रजा का है,
तैंतीस कोटि जनता के सिर पर मुकुट धरो।

फावड़े और हल राजदण्ड बनने को हैं,
धूसरता सोने से श्रृंगार सजाती है;
दो राह,समय के रथ का घर्घर-नाद सुनो,
सिंहासन खाली करो कि जनता आती है।

These are a few lines from Ramdhari Singh Dinkar’s legendary poem hailing the power of democracy. The poem’s lines mark how kings are dethroned when the people come to claim the right over governance.

India has chosen. The grand, massive festival of democracy where 900 million voters decided the fate of thousands of candidates in a selection process that lasted almost two months have finally ended and Narendra Modi was chosen by the people of India as the next prime minister. An overwhelming majority of over 350 seats to NDA means a strong, stable government for the next five years and the country has been rejoicing.

One of the most defining aspects of the public mandate this time has been the public’s overwhelming response against dynasty politics. India has been a democratic republic since 1950 but the democracy was also shrouded by political dynasties. The grand old families of politicians who passed on their political legacies and power, along with ‘seats’ to their children and family members. Son took father’s seat, the wife took husband’s position and so on. For decades, year after year and election after election, dynasty politics has been the bane of India’s voters. In 2019, the people of India have finally said, enough is enough.

Indian politics over the decades has seen the stagnation and corruption that dynasty politics brings to a nation. Congress’ Nehru-Gandhi dynasty kept ruling India under the garb of democracy for over half a century. Like a corrupt king’s rule spawning a number of corrupt feudal lords, Nehru-Gandhi dynasty also helped other dynasties take root and serve in their respective fiefdoms. The idea that a son/daughter inherits all the power, allegiance and positions the father held, the very antithesis of the idea of democracy, has been eating India from inside out.

When a husband is charged with corruption, the wife becomes CM. When a husband dies, his widow is brought forth to claim his throne. When the father becomes too old, he uses the last of his powers to settle his children into key positions so they can continue the legacy. This has been the sad truth of India’s politics over the decades. The results of the 2019 elections have broken the wheel.

HD Devegowda’s family have been holding on to power since long in Karnataka. The families hunger for power was on display when JDS negotiated with Congress for a post-poll alliance after the assembly elections and grabbed the CM’s seat for HD Kumaraswamy. The elder son, HD Revanna became a minister too, but the hunger was far from being satiated. JD-S had managed to wrestle out 8 seats from Congress for the Lok Sabha. 3 of those seats were for the Devegowda family. In a blatant display of sheer political greed and nepotism, JDS had fielded HD Devegowda from Tumkur, HD Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Kumaraswamy from Mandya and HD Ravenna’s son Prajwal Revanna from Hasan.

The voters have rejected the JDS patriarch and Nikhil Kumaraswamy. Prajwal is the sole owner from JDS and as per latest reports, he is to vacate his seat so his grandfather can seek re-election from Hasan.

Guna was another royal throne that the Scindia dynasty have been holding on to since decades. Jyotiraditya Scindia had ‘inherited’ it after his father, former Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia’s death and has been winning since decades from there. 2019 has come as a shocker when Jyotiraditya Scindia, Madhya Pradesh’s deputy CM and Congress general secretary for UP, lost the throne. The public discarded their feudal lord and chose BJP’s KP Singh by a margin of over 1.5 lakh votes.

In Maharashtra, second-generation Congress leaders Milind Deora and Priya Dutt have lost their ‘family bastion’ seats too. The state has also rejected Ashok Chavan and Sharad Pawar’s nephew Parth Pawar. Parth faced a crushing defeat by over 2.5 lakh votes.

Incumbent Andhra Pradesh CM’s son Nara Lokesh Naidu, Andhra’s IT minister has lost from the Mangalagiri constituency. Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Hooda’s son Deepender Hooda has lost the Rohtak seat at saffron surge overwhelmed Haryana sweeping all 10 of its Lok Sabha seats. K Chandrasekhara Rao’s daughter K Kavitha has lost from Nizamabad to BJP’s first-time candidate Dharmapuri Arvind. Lalu Yadav’s daughter Misa Bharti has lost in Pataliputra.

As far as decimating the politics of dynasties is concerned, nothing has been as powerful and monumental as Smriti Irani finally crushing Rahul Gandhi in his ‘ancestral seat’ of Amethi. Amethi has been the proverbial ‘family bastion’ since decades. Rahul Gandhi’s family has been winning from the seat in election after election, never bothering to worry about Amethi or its people. The region remained poor, deprived and devoid of infrastructure despite electing the country’s most powerful family to power repeatedly. This time, the people of the constituency have decided to break the charm. They have discarded the false promises, the gimmick of cotton sarees and white Kurtas, and the justification of facial resemblance as a reason to vote.

The victory of the hard-working, dedicated and committed Smriti Irani, who never abandoned Amethi’s people even after losing in 2014, is hugely symbolic in India’s politics. It signifies what was once termed as the unthinkable, negating the power-clutch of the Nehru-Gandhi clan. In choosing Irani, Amethi has thrown away the mental shackles that held them prisoner to the false charms and deprived them of development.

There are still a lot of ‘political families’ in India. The BJP has many of them too. There are no laws against the son or daughter of a politician joining politics and seeking election. But the nepotism and feudal power play, the repugnant elitism and entitlement that makes the same son and daughter assume that they are above scrutiny and accountability has to go.

The idea that the dynasts can escape ground level connect and can win elections by granting the voters the favour of seeing their overlords waving at them once in five years, the sheer audacity of dynasts clutching at the powerful positions and denying hard working party workers their due just because of their surname has to be crushed. And the mandate in 2019 has established the foundation of just that.

India still has a long way to go to be free from the thought process that being someone’s son or daughter does not make a person entitled to public offices or power corridors. The position has to be earned. When Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India in 2014, he gave a billion Indians the hope that it is possible for a poor boy selling tea in railway stations to become the most powerful man in the country if he works for it and earns it.

Modi’s win in 2014 had opened the doors of possibilities for Indians, it has planted the seed that they hold power and they can decide who rules them. 2019 has shown that seed has now spread its roots and sprouted little branches all over the country. All over India, thrones are being melted, wheels are being smashed and chains are being broken. India is rising and learning to stand tall. Dinkar’s prophetic lines are coming true, “Singhasan Khali Karo Ki Janta Aati Hai”.

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Sanghamitra
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