Pankaj Sharma/Zee Research Group
Politicians never retire for they simply expire! While they are alive they leave no stone unturned to ensure that their legacy is kept alive by their family members. Dynasty politics, however, has taken an interesting turn with many shying away from the ‘family business’, to embrace a life outside politics.
Among those who have chosen to stay away primarily include daughters in the family rather than sons who did not battle an eyelid before joining the fray. This might well be a trend born out of a predominant male society that politicians of today are happy to perpetuate rather than a genuine aversion among daughters to take centre stage.
That male domination permeates right through the top echelons of the Indian society has been captured by experts. Dr Ruchi Tyagi, Associate Professor in Political Science at Kalindi College, Delhi University, reckons, “India is a male dominated society and even politicians do not want their daughters to lead ahead of their sons.”
Dr Tyagi adds women in large numbers though have been taking active part in politics after the implementation of 50 per cent reservation in Panchayati Raj Institutions.
The dynasty politics syndrome is truly secular and its growth has been phenomenal with the ‘son rise’ emerging as the rare unifying factor among politicians of all hues. The saving grace though, a Zee Research Group (ZRG) analysis showed, was that more than half of the children from the nation’s premier political families chose careers other than politics, majority of them being women in the family.
The ZRG analysis of India’s 23 top political families reveals that only 46 per cent children of politicians chose politics as an occupation. That boys are again preferred over girls in inheriting family business – as 70 percent of daughters in Indian politics stay away from active politics – shows that gender disparity begins from the top.
Moreover, out of the 80 children of powerful political families in the country (taken as a sample for the study), only 37 came into active politics and 43 selected different careers. Following the tradition, 30 daughters and only 13 sons didn’t inherit their father or mother’s political legacy respectively.
“Given the choice when such children (son or daughter of politicians) have a powerful backing, they prefer to enter politics. However, only in few circumstances they do not want to enter politics,” Dr Tyagi added.
But, Dr Saroj Giri, Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, Delhi University, differs and thinks that all well-educated children of big politicians do not really want to enter politics. He says, “Since being a politician does involve at one level relating to the masses and going through the rough and tumble of mass politics (even if you can stack crores in foreign banks). The new English educated children of politicians might not want to do that and want a direct access to a life of ease and luxury, of course building on the wealth and connections of their politician-father.”
Leading from the front, daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Mehbooba Mufti like her father didn’t pass her legacy to any of her two daughters.
Like Muftis, Rajiv Gandhi (former prime minister), Prakash Singh Badal (chief minister of Punjab), Farooq Abdullah (former chief minister of J&K), Balashaheb Thackeray (founder of Shiv Sena), Sharad Pawar (NCP Supremo), Ajit Singh (Union aviation minister), Mulayam Singh (former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh), Bhupinder Singh Hooda (chief minister of Haryana), Rajmata Mohinder Kaur (Her Highness of Patiala), Madhav Rao Scindia (former railway minister) and Rajesh Pilot (former telecommunications minister) have pushed only one of their children into active politics so far. It means that overall 16 of their children, including 12 daughters, didn’t opt for politics as a career.
Narsimha Rao (former prime minister), YS Rajashekhra Reddy (former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh), Om Prakash Chautala (former chief minister of Haryana), Bhajan Lal (former chief minister of Haryana), HD Deve Gowda (former prime minister) and Jagjivan Ram (former defence minister) all have introduced only two of their children to politics. Interestingly, 15 of their kids including 12 girls have stayed away from active politics.
NT Rama Rao (former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh), Bansi Lal (former chief minister of Haryana), Hemawati Bahuguna (former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh) and PA Sangma (co-founder of NCP) each have launched three of their children into politics. As per the analysis, 12 children of these four politicians didn’t come into active politics.
Former chief minister of Tamil Nadu and DMK supremo M Karunanidhi has four children pursuing active politics. However, one son and daughter of Karunanidhi didn’t take up politics as a profession.