Political Dynasties

Mail Today has carried a comprehensive story on political dynasties in India. Another article carried in the edit page today argues that power ought not to be given on a platter to lateral entrants to politics. The author’s critique of Shashi Tharoor making it to the MEA, right after his maiden contest and success in the Lok Sabha polls, without any prior exposure to politics, is interesting. Is there scope for political/legal/constitutional reform to discourage dynasties and lateral entrants to politics from making political contest in a democracy uneven?

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  • i dont think we can club the issue of dynastic politics with ‘lateral entrants’. if someone like shashi tharoor has demonstrated his expertise in an area, and then is available to be picked up for ministership by virtue of his election to parliament, i dont see why the PM should not make use of that expertise. ‘experience’ can be gained through many avenues, not just politics. of course, once you become a minister, the westminster system requires you to have political accountability, and therefore parliament membership. the issues regarding political rookies is completely separate from that of dynastic heirs.

  • i agree with Tarunabh on this. Was about to write the same thing. However, lateral entry, like in other spheres, should be evaluated for relevant application.

  • Children of dynasties and lateral entrants are criticised for different reasons. The former stake a claim for power, positions and responsibilities merely because of birth in the political families. Therefore, they deny competition at the threshold to others who don't belong to the family.

    Lateral entrants like Tharoor are no different from film personalities trying to make capital of their success in films. We seem to be satisfied with Tharoor only because his experience in diplomacy will be an asset to the Government. The author of the article I referred to has answered this issue.

    The way our party decisions are taken suggests that in both the cases, (dynasties, and lateral entrants) the result is the same: it makes the contest within the parties uneven.

    The result could be voter apathy, and poor voter turnout. In Mumbai, the voter turnout was less despite 26/11 because political parties in Mumbai were inactive during non-election time, because of their pre-occupations other than mobilisation because they were simply not interested in encouraging their activists do serious political work in the constituencies.

    Dynasties and lateral entrants would only alienate genuine and committed political workers and they would stop aspiring for rewards within the system. There is no reason why Tharoor could not have been brought to politics through Rajya Sabha. Take Azhar, for example. Here is someone who should have been nominated to RS, rather than asked to fight elections, replacing other committed workers. Had he lost, he would not have been interested in politics for ever.

  • So, Shashi Tharoor is not welcome into Indian politics?

    I can see, he must have threatened the old establishment and the SOS has already started everywhere. But, perceptions apart, is Shashi Tharoor really a threat to the old establishment? I do not think so.

    The old establishment is too deeply entrenched into the affairs of this country and is likely to last much longer than they might now be estimating.