The Yadavs of UP & Bihar
Uttar Pradesh is the most crucial state electorally, sending 80 members to the Lok Sabha. The state, though, boasts of its own deep-rooted political dynasties.
While the Yadavs of the Samajwadi Party (SP) are the most well-known dynasty here, there are also others such as the clan of Chaudhary Charan Singh, the former Prime Minister of India.
Singh’s son, Ajit Singh, founded the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) — a party influential in the western part of the state. A former MP, Ajit Singh has served as a cabinet minister in various central governments. His son, Jayant Chaudhary, is an active politician and was an MP from Mathura between 2009 and 2014.
The Yadavs of Uttar Pradesh, meanwhile, are emblematic of the country’s tryst with powerful families.
At the head is former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and socialist leader Mulayam Singh Yadav. A very public, an almost-bitter feud has, however, led to son Akhilesh Yadav, a former CM himself, taking complete control of the Samajwadi Party (SP). While the father has continued to remain in the party, his frequent inscrutable comments have been a headache for Akhilesh.
Another power centre that Akhilesh has had to contend with is the influence of his uncles — Ram Gopal Yadav and Shivpal Yadav. While Ram Gopal, a Rajya Sabha MP, has continued to remain an important leader in the SP, Shivpal broke away to form his own party — the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party — in September 2018.
Mulayam’s daughters-in-law have also been active in politics. Dimple Yadav, Akhilesh’s wife, is a Lok Sabha MP from Kannauj while Aparna Yadav, his younger son Prateek’s wife, unsuccessfully contested the 2017 assembly polls from the Lucknow Cantt constituency.
Much like Mulayam, former Bihar chief minister and ex-union minister Lalu Yadav also has his political antecedents in socialism and the ‘JP movement’ (led by Jay Prakash Narayan) of the 1970s.
Known for his wit, colourful use of language, astute political brains and, of course, the infamous fodder scam, Lalu now has four of his blood relatives, besides him, in politics.
His wife Rabri Devi has been a chief minister while son Tejashwi is the leader of opposition in the Bihar assembly. Elder son Tej Pratap was a minister in the state and his daughter Misa Bharti contested the Patliputra Lok Sabha seat in 2014 but lost. Several of Lalu’s nine children are married into political families.
The Bahugunas of UP and Uttarakhand
Originally from Uttar Pradesh, the Bahugunas now straddle between the state and neighbouring Uttarakhand.
The first-generation among them to enter politics, Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, had a tumultuous relationship with the Congress where he began his politics. He was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
His son Vijay Bahuguna, who split from the Congress along with other rebels to join the BJP ahead of 2017 assembly polls in Uttarakhand, has served as the state’s chief minister and a Lok Sabha MP. His sister Rita Bahuguna Joshi, meanwhile, is a minister in the current BJP government in Uttar Pradesh. A senior Congress leader, she joined the BJP in 2016 along with her brother.
Vijay’s sons, Saket and Saurabh, are also active in politics.