Indian politics: All in the family

With Dimple Yadav elected to the Lok Sabha, the issue of dynastic politics has again come to the fore.

Updated: Jun 10, 2012, 13:11 PM IST

New Delhi: With Dimple Yadav elected to the Lok Sabha, the issue of dynastic politics has again come to the fore.

Dimple, wife of UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, will be the sixth member from the family of Samajwadi party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav in politics and holding elective posts.

While Mulayam is himself a Lok Sabha member, his nephew Dharmendra Yadav is also a member of that House while his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav is in the Rajya Sabha and younger brother Shivpal Yadav is a senior minister in Uttar Pradesh.

But the fact is that sons and daughters and daughters-in-law are no longer an issue in Indian politics.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the most powerful leader in the country, is the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi.

Similar is the case with Maneka Gandhi, former Union Minister and BJP MP who is the second daughter-in-law of the late Prime Minister but is in the rival camp.

There are two other Gandhis in the Lok Sabha -- Rahul and Varun.

"Why you are pointing fingers towards us and not others?", a visibly annoyed Sonia Gandhi had shot back at reporters when asked whether she was not promoting the family by giving her son Rahul a ticket in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls.

It was over eight years ago and Sonia`s reference was to the several kith and kin of leaders of all parties who were already in politics.

They included Rabri Devi, wife of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad; M K Stalin and M K Alagiri, sons of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi; Chandrababu Naidu, son-in-law of N T Rama Rao; A Ramdoss, son of PMK chief Dr Ramadoss; Ajit Pawar, nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar and H D Kumaraswamy and H D Revanna, sons of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda.

After 2004, Pawar`s daughter Supriya Sule and Karunanidhi`s daughter Kanimozi too entered politics and the former is now a member of the Lok Sabha and latter is in the Rajya Sabha.

While Congressmen refute the charge of their party practising dynastic politics, the Gandhi-Nehrus are regarded not only the `first family` of the Congress, but the most successful political family in the democratic world having given three Prime Ministers.

The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, which has often accused the Congress of practising "dynastic" politics, is itself practising it in many ways.

However, regional parties take the cake when it comes to "son-strokes". The Mayawati-led BSP only appears to be a bit different.

In BJP, the late Vijayaraje Scindia`s two daughters are in politics. While Vasundhara Raje is a former Rajasthan Chief Minister, Yashodhara Raje is a member of the Lok Sabha. So is Vasundhara`s son Dushyant Singh (an MP).

Vijayaraje`s grandson Jyotiraditya Scindia is in Congress and a Union Minister representing Guna in Lok Sabha, a seat represented by his father late Madhavrao for several terms.

BJP`s Chief Minister in Himachal Pradesh Prem Kumar Dhumal`s son Anurag Thakur too is a Lok Sabha member. The controversial B S Yeddyurappa`s son B Y Raghavendra too is also in the Lower House.

While Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit`s son Sandip is a Lok Sabha member for long, so is the case with Randeep Singh Hooda -- son of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

In Andhra Pradesh, the late Chief Minister Y S Rajsekhara Reddy`s son Jagan is giving Congress sleepless nights notwithstanding the fact that the CBI is probing serious cases against him.

Abhijit, son of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who appears to be the front-runner as the UPA`s candidate in the Presidential polls, is a Congress MLA in West Bengal.

The family of former Speaker P A Sangma, who is the Presidential candidate of Jayalalithaa and Navin Patnaik, is on the roll in the northeast state of Meghalaya.

His daughter Agatha is the youngest member of the Union Council of Ministers, her brothers Conrad and James Sangma have been NCP legislators in Meghalaya.

In Maharashtra, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray has relied on his family while deciding on the succession in the organisation.

His nephew and MNS chief Raj Thackarey parted ways with the Shiv Sena after the Sena patriarch started promoting his son Uddhav and made him the executive president of the party. Now Uddhav`s son Aditya has also become active in the Youth wing of the Shiv Sena.

It was the same reason that prompted former Maharashtra Chief Minister Narayan Rane to leave the Shiv Sena for the Congress after a four-decade-old association. His son Nitesh is now in politics and is the Lok Sabha member from Konkan region.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, too belongs to a Congress `family`. His mother late Premalatai Chavan was a lawmaker for long and also Maharashtra PCC chief and his father D R alias Anandrao Chavan was a Union minister.

National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah is Union Minister, while his son Omar is the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister.