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BJP’s list of dynasts is only growing longer, it now includes at least 11% of its MPs

Jyotiraditya Scindia is not the only dynast to be elected to the Rajya Sabha on a BJP ticket — many others represent party in both Houses of Parliament.

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New Delhi: Dynasts are in focus yet again, thanks to Sachin Pilot’s rebellion against the Congress government in Rajasthan. While Pilot maintains that he will not join the BJP, there are already murmurs in the party about the entry of dynasts weakening its central plank against the dynastic Congress. The list of BJP’s dynast MPs is only growing.

The BJP currently has 303 members in the Lok Sabha and 85 in the Rajya Sabha. Of these 388, 45 MPs have dynastic linkages — around 11 per cent.

This number stands in stark contrast to the way Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have often mocked the Congress and its members for their family connections in politics, such as calling Rahul Gandhi ‘shahzada’ (prince) and contrasting his ‘naamdaar’ (known for their name) status with their own ‘kaamdaar’ (known for their work).

A couple of days ago, BJP national president J.P. Nadda too attacked Rahul Gandhi, asking why the dynast wanted a weak India and a strong China. Many leaders in the Congress too privately complain about the party’s one-dynasty rule.

But the BJP has added several dynasts in the Rajya Sabha, including four out of 17 in the last round of polls held in June 2020. Currently, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Vivek Thakur, Udayanraje Bhosale, Leishemba Sanajoaba, Nabam Rebia, Neeraj Shekhar and Sambhaji Chhatrapati (nominated) are all Rajya Sabha members who belong to political families and are now associated with the BJP.

In the Lok Sabha too, the BJP has numerous dynasts in its camp — Anurag Thakur, Dushyant Singh, Poonam Mahajan, Pritam Munde, Pravesh Sahib Singh Verma, and B.Y. Raghavendra.

This trend reflects at the state level too — just three weeks ago, when Shivraj Singh Chouhan expanded his Madhya Pradesh cabinet, he included Om Prakash Saklecha, son of former CM Virendra Saklecha, as a minister. Chouhan’s cabinet also includes Vishvas Sarang, son of senior BJP leader Kailash Sarang.


Also read: One Dynasty Dimming, we said of the Gandhis & Congress


Jyotiraditya Scindia

Scindia is the son of the late Madhavrao Scindia, the former Congress leader and Union minister, and grandson of the late Vijayaraje Scindia, the Jana Sangh/Janata Party/BJP stalwart, and scion of the erstwhile royal family of Gwalior. Jyotiraditya Scindia became MP in 2002, soon after his father’s death, and also served as a Union minister under Manmohan Singh’s Congress-led UPA-2 government.

He rebelled against the Congress in March this year and joined the BJP with 22 MLAs who support him, toppling Kamal Nath’s government in Madhya Pradesh. Soon after, he received a Rajya Sabha ticket, and is now likely to be inducted into the Modi government in the next cabinet expansion.

Udayanraje Bhosale

Hailing from the erstwhile royal family of Satara in Maharashtra, Bhosale was a three-time Nationalist Congress Party MP before joining the BJP ahead of last year’s Maharashtra assembly elections. He is now a Rajya Sabha MP, having lost the Satara bypoll necessitated when he resigned from the NCP and joined the BJP. He has also served as a minister in the Shiv Sena-BJP Maharashtra government in the 1990s.

Bhosale’s cousin, MLA Shivendra Raje, also quit the NCP and joined the BJP.


Also read: Why Scindia political dynasty is unique and what Jyotiraditya’s exit says for Congress


Vivek Thakur 

Vivek is the son of five-time MP and renowned physician C.P. Thakur, who served as the Union health minister under Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Thakur senior is regarded as an influential leader of the Bhumihar caste in Bihar, and Vivek’s Rajya Sabha ticket earlier this year is being seen in that context, with an eye on the assembly polls later this year.

Leishemba Sanajoaba

The titular king of Manipur was elected on the lone Rajya Sabha seat in the state amid high drama, defeating the Congress candidate by four votes despite the BJP-led coalition government being in jeopardy at the time.

Upon his election, he said he would like to be addressed by his fellow MPs as ‘Maharaja’, because that is his “birthright”.

Neeraj Shekhar 

The son of former prime minister Chandra Shekhar was a sitting Rajya Sabha MP from the Samajwadi Party but switched to the BJP last year and became a member of the Upper House again.

Neeraj Shekhar fought three Lok Sabha elections on SP tickets, but didn’t get one in 2019, and joined the BJP in July last year.

Sambhaji Chhatrapati 

A descendent of legendary Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji, Sambhaji got nominated to the Rajya Sabha nomination by the President on the BJP’s recommendation. He was the face of the Maratha reservation stir in 2016-17, and the BJP sent him to the Rajya Sabha to bring the agitating community into its fold.

Nabam Rebia

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.


Also read: Scindia’s entry hurts BJP and Modi more than any other dynast’s. Here is why


Continuing trend

Even as Modi carried out his election campaign on the ‘naamdaar’ versus ‘kaamdaar’ plank, a number of dynasts were elected to the Lok Sabha on BJP tickets.

The list included Anurag Thakur, son of former Himachal Pradesh CM Prem Kumar Dhumal; Dushyant Singh, son of former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje; B.Y. Raghavendra, son of four-time Karnataka CM B.S. Yediyurappa; Rajbir Singh, son of former UP CM Kalyan Singh; Pravesh Verma, son of former Delhi CM Sahib Singh Verma; Sanghamitra Maurya, daughter of UP cabinet minister Swami Prasad Maurya; Poonam Mahajan, daughter of late Union minister Pramod Mahajan; Pritam Munde, daughter of late Union minister Gopinath Munde; Jayant Sinha, son of former Union minister Yashwant Sinha; and Varun Gandhi, son of fellow BJP MP Maneka Gandhi.

The trend is very noticeable in UP and Maharashtra in particular. In the western state, Pankaja Munde, another daughter of Gopinath Munde, served as a minister in the Devendra Fadnavis government, while Raksha Khadse (daughter-in-law of former state revenue minister Eknath Khadse) and Sujay Vikhe Patil (son of prominent former Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil) are Lok Sabha MPs.

In UP, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s son Pankaj Singh is an MLA, while Rita Bahuguna Joshi, daughter of former CM Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna and former state Congress chief, was a minister in Yogi Adityanath’s government. Sharad Tripathi, son of state BJP president Ramapati Ram Tripathi was also an MP, but was denied a ticket after a video emerging showing him beating up a party MLA with a shoe.


Also read: Uddhav Thackeray, once a critic of dynastic politics, now has 22 dynasts in his cabinet


‘What’s the harm?’

An IndiaSpend study published by BloombergQuint in March 2019 stated: “Since 1999, the Congress has had 36 dynastic members of parliament elected to the Lok Sabha, with the BJP not far behind with 31. In 1999, the beginning of the 13th Lok Sabha, 8 per cent of Congress MPs were either descended from or married to former MPs, only slightly ahead of the 6 per cent among the BJP. The most similar density of dynastic politicians was in 2009 when the Congress and BJP had 11 per cent and 12 per cent dynasts elected, respectively.”

Sanjay Kumar, director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, said every party believes in dynastic politics.

“It helps them to win elections easily with less effort, but in recent times, it doesn’t matter whether you are dynast or non-dynast — if the candidate has the potential to swing the arithmetic, the BJP has awarded them,” he said.

But Rajbir Singh, the Lok Sabha MP and son of Kalyan Singh, asked what was the harm in following one’s father’s profession.

“What is the harm in getting into politics if one’s father is also politician? We never question if a doctor’s son becomes a doctor or IAS officer’s son becomes an IAS officer. We never call them dynasts,” he told ThePrint.


Also read: Why Modi is using Nehru to try and demolish the Gandhi dynasty and Congress


 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I had respect for Shekhar Gupta and was happy with the direction he was giving to Print.

    But printing such logically-challenged articles lowers the standing Mr. Gupta you claim to provide to Print.

    Bairam Khan worked for Akbar and his son Rahim worked for Akbar: the dynasty is Mughal dynasty not Bairam Khan dynasty.

    Deve Gowda, Laloo, Mulayam, Chautala, Patnayak all worked in the same party but separated copying congress model of Jawaharlal jee thereby establishing their lineage in their respective areas. It would not be possible if they stayed together.

    Sharad Pawar , Sangma, Jagan, KCR moved out of Congress copying Jawaharlal jee and have their own dynasties.

    Even Badal, Thakeray and Karunanidhi copied Jawaharlal jee and created their own lineage.

    If Atal or Advani followed this formula, we would have Ranjan Bhattacharya or Jayant Advanin as PM.

    This feeble attempt at creating equivalence with Rahul Baba is laughable and ludicrous.

  2. Those “dynasts” in “The Congress,DMK,SP,BSP,Akali Dal ,RJD, Shiv Sena and Deva-Gaudas JD” have also to contest elections, and get elected by the people. DYNASTS ARE APPOINTED., AND NOT ELECTED. These people are elected by the people in elections, AND THEREFORE IT IS WRONG TO CALL THEM DYNASTS. tHEY DON’T HAVE TO “climb the greasy pole of a political career from the grassroots”. IN A DEMOCRACY ALL ONE NEEDS IS TO GET ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE IN A FREE AND FAIR ELECTION.

  3. Can we have the similar analysis across all parties. Getting into politics is no joke you need funds that only the existing folks have… so I would really like to see comparison across all parties

  4. It is absurd to argue that just because one^ parent was in politics ,the person is precluded from pursuing a political career. ^The Congress,DMK,SP,BSP,Akali Dal ,RJD, Shivsena and Deva-Gaudas JD are being pilloried for dynastic succession only because the leadership of the Parties is handed down form one generation to the next’ as if in proprietorship of family enterprises.This is indeed an obnoxius practice.Rahul Gandhi,Stalin,Mayawatis brother and nephew,Akilesh Yadav,Sukhdevsingh Badal,Tejaswi Yadav,Uddhav Thackeray have all inherited the Party leadership and hence the right to head the Government when the respective Parties come to power.This is real dynastic succession.The BJP can never be accused of dynastic succession at the top echelons.By hard work at the ground level if a politicians son or daughter climb the greasy pole of a political career from the grassroots,it needs to be appreciated.

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