Dynasty Politics – Indian Style

With Ashok Chavan (son of S.B.Chavan) set to take over as the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra, it’s time to take a look at the dirty phenomenon of dynasty politics (family politics) in India.

We define dynasty politics as the growing practice of close relatives or family members of established politicians stepping into the political arena and making a mockery of democracy.

Dynasty politics is an indicator of weak political systems like India, where politics is dominated by individuals rather than strong political institutions.

The practice of dynasty politics is not restricted to North India. Au contraire, it seems widespread across the country.

Here are a few egregious examples of dynasty politics in India:

Jawaharlal Nehru
Indira Gandhi
Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi, Maneka Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi, Varun Gandhi
Who’s next – Raihan and Miraya (Priyanka Gandhi’s children)??
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S.B.Chavan

Ashok Chavan
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M.Karunanidhi (Tamil Nadu)
M.K.Stalin, M.K.Azhagiri, Kanimozhi, Murasoli Maran, Dayanidhi Maran
**********************
Laloo Prasad Yadav
(Bihar)
Rabri Devi
**********************
H.D.Devegowda
(Karnataka)
H.D.Revanna & H.D.Kumaraswamy
**********************
Vijayraje Scindia
(Madhya Pradesh)
Madhavrao Scindia, Vasundhara Raje Scindia (Rajasthan), Yashodhara Raje Scindia
Jyotiraditya Scindia, Dushyant Singh

**********************
Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla
(Madhya Pradesh)
Shyama Charan Shukla and Vidya Charan Shukla
**********************
Devi Lal (Haryana)
Om Prakash Chautala
**********************
Mulayam Singh Yadav
(Uttar Pradesh)
Akhilesh Singh Yadav
**********************
Rajesh Pilot
(Rajasthan)
Sachin Pilot
**********************
Biju Patnaik
(Orissa)
Naveen Patnaik
**********************
S.Bangarappa (Karnataka)
Vasant Bangarappa
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R.Gundu Rao
(Karnataka)
Dinesh Gundu Rao
**********************
K.Karunakaran
(Kerala)
K.Muralidharan and Padmaja Venugopal
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Sharad Pawar (Maharashtra)
Supriya Sule
**********************
Jagjivan Ram
(Bihar)
Meira Kumar
**********************
Charan Singh
(Uttar Pradesh)
Ajit Singh
**********************
Sheikh Abdullah
(Jammu & Kashmir)
Farooq Abdullah
Omar Abdullah
**********************
M.G.Ramachandran
(Tamil Nadu)
Janaki Ramachandran
**********************
N.T.Rama Rao (Andhra Pradesh)
Chandrababu Naidu, Daggubati Purandareswari
**********************
Y S Rajasekhara Reddy (Andhra Pradesh)
Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, Y. S. Vivekananda Reddy

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Sheila Dixit (Delhi)
Sandeep Dikshit
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Are there any other prominent Indian political dynasties that we’ve missed?

17 Responses to "Dynasty Politics – Indian Style"

  1. elnino.aurora   December 4, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    I dont know if these ppl are prominent enough to feature on your list. No achievements whatsoever but just for the sake of dynastic politics., Include the No-good overhyped Murasoli Maran, and the equally bad Dayanidhi Maran.

    Btw., What does searchindia have to say about the recent patchup between the MK family and Maran family ? It was a big tamasha as far as I saw in the papers. Would like your opinion on it πŸ˜‰

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Thanks. We’ve added Murasoli Maran & Dayanidhi Maran to the Karunanidhi political dynasty in the above post.

    2. You write: What does searchindia have to say about the recent patchup between the MK family and Maran family ? It was a big tamasha as far as I saw in the papers. Would like your opinion on it

    If dynastic politics is ugly, the intersection of dynastic politics with big business (like Marans with their media interests) is 100 times uglier and 1000 times more dangerous for the common man in Eelam oops Tamil Nadu.

    BTW, the Marans’ mentor Karunai-illadha-Nidhi has a good sense of humor. Look at the names of his children – Stalin (named after that Soviet monster), Azhagiri for that ugly buffoon in Madurai…We’ve also read that Karunai-illadha-Nidhi has two wives. Wonder if it’s true. Isn’t bigamy a crime under Indian law?

    Maybe Karunanidhi’s favorite song is – Chinna chinna asai, chinna chinna veedu πŸ˜‰

  2. SRINIVAS   December 4, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    all these people are from Congress or from parties formed from Congress ….

    you have left out the great Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akilesh Singh Yadav .. also the stsa

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Thanks. Added Mulayam & Son.

    Your last sentence is incomplete.

  3. SRINIVAS   December 4, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    also there are few in Madhya Pradesh …

    One striking thing is nobody from BJP ..at least as of now …

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: One striking thing is nobody from BJP ..at least as of now …

    1. You are wrong.

    Vasundhara Raje Scindia – Rajasthan Chief Minister
    Son – Rajasthan BJP MP Dushyant Singh
    (Source: Wiki)

    2. To anyone who suggests BJP is any different, we ask have you heard of Tehelka.

  4. guruprasad.s   December 5, 2008 at 6:42 am

    That was an informative post.

    If one were to do the same exercise at a regional level (vidhan sabha, vidhaan parishad and municipal councils), I wonder how many such cases will come out.

    Following are a few prominent ones (at the national level):

    Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla was the first CM of Madhya Pradesh, while his elder son Shyama Charan Shukla was the CM of MP for three terms. Younger son Vidya Charan Shukla has had a long innings in Lok Sabha (perhaps the longest for a Congressman).

    Anil Shastri and Sunil Shastri, sons of former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri, did not have very successful political careers.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Thanks. Added Shukla & Sons to Madhya Pradesh.

  5. navaraj   December 5, 2008 at 11:04 am

    how about K.Karunakaran from kerala???? his son Muralidharan and daughter Padmaja Venugopal have also tried their hands at politics……….the fight between K.Karunakaran and Muralidharan was the best entertainment on TV for a long long time…….. the over “made-up” Padmaja during the elction campaigns was indeed a sight to behold (YUCK!!!!!)

    Also the tainted kerala minister Balakrishna Pillai(many corruption charges pending against him) and his son K B Ganesh Kumar………

    I recently came across an article which i have copied below. Is there any truth in it???
    “Did you know that there is a system in our constitution, as per the 1969 act, in section “49-O” that a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey the presiding election officer that he doesn’t want to vote anyone!

    Yes such a feature is available, but obviously these seemingly notorious leaders have never disclosed it. This is called “49-O”.

    Why should you go and say “I VOTE NOBODY”… because, in a ward, if a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has received “49-O” votes more than 123, then that polling will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled. Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them. This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election. This would change the way; of our whole political system… it is seemingly surprising why the election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public….

    Please spread this news to as many as you know… Seems to be a wonderful weapon against corrupt parties in India … show your power, expressing your desire not to vote for anybody, is even more powerful than voting… so don’t miss your chance. So either vote, or vote not to vote (vote 49-O) and pass this info on…”

    it is mentioned as Article 49 section 0 of the constitution….. I have no clue about it…Would like to hear from you………

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Thanks. Added Karunakaran & Children to Kerala.

    2. Article 49 of the Indian constitution deals with Protection of monuments and places and objects of national importance and has nothing to do with voting.

    Here’s what Article 49 says:

    It shall be the obligation of the State to protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historic interest, declared by or under law made by Parliament to be of national importance, from spoliation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be.

  6. What_if   December 6, 2008 at 1:12 am

    Do Mr Bill Clinton & Mrs Hillary Clinton fall in the category of the dirty phenomenon of dynasty politics? OR Are they exempted due to the different style of Democracy in USA.

    OFF TOPIC:

    With the recession getting stronger, and the Federal Govt having to be prepared to shell out over a Trillion $ to sustain for 2009 & 2010, with many lay off announced and yet to come, wonder what are our desis are going to do there after receiving the pink slips?

    Continue to “lend their asses” there OR return to India (reverse Brain Drain) and join their peers and say “Bhaiya, Aaramse Maar Meri Gaand”.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: Do Mr Bill Clinton & Mrs Hillary Clinton fall in the category of the dirty phenomenon of dynasty politics?

    Yes & No.

    Yes, there are a few other examples like JFK, RFK & Edward Kennedy. Bush sr and George Bush & Jeb Bush, Joe Biden and Bo Biden.

    No, because it’s not as simple as India. It gives you some name recognition but not the guarantee of success. Look at what happened to Hillary. She lost to a first-term Senator like Obama in the Democratic primaries and now has to serve under him. We’re unlikely to see these patterns in India.

    In the U.S., we don’t have a Sonia Gandhi-like figure deciding who’ll be the next Governor/Senator of a state.

  7. Sunny Sharma   December 8, 2008 at 4:57 am

    Good point about the US democracy.), I think its democratic to the core,which we are not. And I dont think that’s going to change very soon.
    What reforms (Realistic,mind you think we should take to reform our democracy?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. You write: What reforms (Realistic,mind you think we should take to reform our democracy?

    Greater involvement of the middle class in the political process (the poor are bogged down by survival issues and the rich mostly consumed by greed).

    2. You write: Good point about the US democracy.), I think its democratic to the core,which we are not

    You are wrong. Although better than India in many respects, U.S. is a nominal democracy because the U.S. system has been suborned by vested interests and the country increasingly resembles a plutocracy these days.

  8. sumeshy   December 8, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    @SI,

    MK does have 2 wives and they have different homes. I am not sure if you are aware, he is trying to bring in his daughter into politics. This daughter is now has an aide, “friend”, etc, etc, who is rumored to be linked with LTTE.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Are you sure both are wives or is one a stepney…chinna veedu?

    2. You write above: I am not sure if you are aware, he is trying to bring in his daughter into politics

    Are you referring to Kanimozhi?

    And who is the aide?

  9. sumeshy   December 8, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    @SI
    He has married three times – his wives are Mrs. Padmavathy, Mrs. Dayalu Ammal and Mrs. Rajathiammal.

    http://www.asiantribune.com/index.php?q=node/4959 – read that link.

  10. joeantony   December 9, 2008 at 2:14 am

    S.I. : Are you sure both are wives or is one a stepneyÒ€¦chinna veedu?

    Dhayalu Ammal – MK’s wife (1)
    Rajaathi – MK’s wife (2)
    (padmavathi died) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M_Karunanidhi

    The Adipodigal/Allakais (low level party men) in tamil they used to call the former as ‘Manaiviyaar’ and the later as ‘Thunaiviyaar’.. funny…

    Kanimozhy – is daughter of the latter, MK feels she is the real heir as she is the only one in the whole dynasty who is an expert in Tamil lit like himself. The feminist Rajyasaba MP is a divorcee too.

  11. Aswin_Kini   May 16, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Correction, Karunanidhi has four periya vidus, not sure about the chinna vidus though!

  12. PradeepG   September 5, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Soon to join your list: Jagan Mohan Reddy S/O Late YSR.

    One of the weblink discussing this topic:
    Don’t let this son rise

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Thanks.

    Updated our Dynasty Post to include YSR & Son.

    • sganeshkumar1989   February 26, 2010 at 10:52 am

      Add YSR’s brother Y.S.Vivekananda Reddy too.(Was Kadapa Lok Sabha M.P. during 2004-09)
      His brother-in-law, I guess is Kadapa Zilla Parishad Chairman.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Thanks. Added Y. S. Vivekananda Reddy to the list.

  13. boopalanj   September 5, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    This is a old post, I remember reading it earlier. Why it appears in the home page?

    [Bigamy is not a crime under law, unless one of those wives officially lodge a complaint. Btw, Why you did not update the post with Azhagiri & Kanimozhi?]

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. M.K.Azhagiri and Kanimozhi have been added to the dynasty list.

    2. You write: Bigamy is not a crime under law, unless one of those wives officially lodge a complaint

    Strange. Only in Incredible India and medieval Saudi Arabia.

    3. The old post was highlighted because of all the talk of YSR’s son Jagan Mohan Reddy succeeding him.

  14. sganeshkumar1989   February 26, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    And Jagjivan Ram is from Bihar,not U.P

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Fixed. Thanks. πŸ™‚

  15. shiva84   February 26, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    You have missed sheila dixit (chief minister) and her son sandeep dixit (lok sabha mp) from east delhi.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Thanks. Added Sheila Dixit and Sandeep Dikshit.

    By the way, how do you pronounce Dixit or Dikshit – is it Dick-Shit.

    Just asking. No offense intended to Bra-hmins. πŸ˜‰

  16. vjcool   April 28, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Very old post.. Is this just n politics… I see the trend in many universities also , the professor’s son , becomes the professor and the inbreeding goes on., mostly the guy would even pass with a gold medal, some deviate from the destiny of them serving the prestigious institution, but many stay and do PhD by influence.. The politics is just the reflection of the system

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: Is this just n politics…

    No, also seen in movie business, universities, business everywhere except blogging. πŸ˜‰

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