The BJP has slammed Rahul Gandhi for admitting the existence of dynastic politics but numbers show the ruling party isn’t free from the malaise either.
New Delhi: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has been quite unforgiving of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for his remarks in the United States that dynasties are a problem but that is how India runs, not just its politics but also its businesses.
“Dynasty is a problem with every party, that’s how India runs. But there are a large number of people in Congress who are not dynasts,” Rahul had said at the University of California, Berkeley, on 12 September.
The remarks drew swift, strong and sustained criticism from the BJP. Top leaders, including party president Amit Shah and finance minister Arun Jaitley, slammed Rahul for the comments. Jaitley said the comments embarrassed him.
Shah said Rahul had compromised the dignity of the country and cited examples of President Ram Nath Kovind, PM Narendra Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan – all from his party – as leaders who belonged to humble backgrounds but rose through a meritocratic system.
A detailed analysis by ThePrint of BJP MPs in both houses of parliament, however, shows that the holier than thou attitude of the ruling party may not be justified, after all – 38 of its 281 Lok Sabha MPs and nine of its 56 Rajya Sabha MPs have a strong political lineage or belong to political families.
The same numbers for the Congress were at a high in the Lok Sabha during UPA-2, when 58 of its 211 MPs earned the label of dynasts. With nine such MPs in the current Rajya Sabha, the Congress is tied with the BJP.
The fathers of eight of the 38 ‘dynast’ BJP MPs are or were chief ministers or deputy chief ministers. They include sons of incumbent chief ministers Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh and Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan. Rajveer Singh, MP from Etah in UP, is the son of Rajasthan governor and former chief minister of UP, Kalyan Singh.
Uttar Pradesh tops the list: 12 of the 71 BJP MPs from the state have a political lineage. Bihar is second with five out of 22 and Maharashtra third with four out of 23 BJP MPs qualifying for the ‘dynast’ tag.
Incidentally, three of BJP ‘dynast’ MPs from Maharashtra are daughters of top BJP leaders: Pritam Munde, Poonam Mahajan, Heena Gavit. The fourth, Raksha Khadse, is the daughter-in-law of BJP leader Eknath Khadse.
Gujarat and Rajasthan have three BJP ‘dynast’ MPs each followed by Chhattisgarh with two MPs. Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Haryana have one MP each in this category.
The list also includes 15 of the 75 ministers – or 20 per cent – in the council of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Elsewhere, four of the 13 BJP chief ministers have inherited politics from family members – Vasundhara Raje, Devendra Fadnavis, Yogi Adityanath and Pema Khandu.
Note: UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath is included in the list as his Lok Sabha profile mentions Mahant Avaidyanath, former MP and chief priest of Gorakhnath temple, as his father.
You can read the full list of dynasts here