The first thing that Congress leadership said after losing the crucial battle of UP is ‘no Rahul Gandhi won’t step down.’ Senior party leader Digvijay Singh said that it was important for the Gandhi family to stay on as it is this dynasty which holds the political party together. However, what Digvijay fails to understand is that it is this same kind of politics that has been rejected by people in 2014 and again in 2017. Rahul Gandhi cannot win an election that is clear. Losing UP is just another addition to the many achievements of the perennially PM in waiting.
Same is the case with Akhilesh Yadav. The chief minister who went to the polls with slogans like “kaam bolta hai” and the development plank faced a major slip when unaided by the experienced Yadav hands. His father’s withdrawal and passing on the baton to him and his uncle Shivpal Yadav’s going completely against him shows that there is very little that a young, educated and an able leader like him can do without his family’s support.
The problem with emerging into the political scene with the crutches of dynasty politics is that it will leave you with no scope to escape the opressive mafia of the family name. While Akhilesh inherited legacy of Mulayam Singh’s ‘samajwad’ and the Yadav muscle-power, he also inherited the tag of ‘Goondaism’ that is attached with the Yadav family. His attempt at tearing himself away from the whole thing fell apart because he never showed the intention of rebelling openly, while many speculated that the split in the Yadav clan was well orchestrated by the father-son du0 to make sure that Akhilesh has the control of the party. Akhilesh still has a chance at politics, if he is able to prove that he can survive in the political arena without the might of the Yadav name and practice the politics of good administration and development without giving free run to crime and goondaism. Finally come the Badals, who have a monopoly in Punjab on everything from transport to cable TVs. Even Modi’s BJP couldn’t do much for their tainted ally.
This is not to say that these spell a decisive end to dynasty politics. If we go through the candidate list we find many sons, daughters, nephews and nieces. What it means is that merely inheriting a powerful party name will not work. People have to build their own brand of politics. Electoral politics in India is becoming more and more individual centric. This is the reason, it has been impossible to stop the Narendra Modi juggernaut with the exception of a few electoral debacles. The charisma of a leader will drive the results and people’s opinion about whether he is a strong, reliable leader in individual capacity is what will decide his electoral fate. In Bihar, Nitish Kumar was that man, so Modi couldn’t do much. But in UP that is not the case. People want strong, smart and reliable leaders. Not little boys who are still struggling to come out of the shadows of their family name or musclemen who use their political muscle power and their kursi to fill up their own coffers.