When LK Advani offered to make Varun Gandhi chief minister of Uttar Pradesh

While BJP leaders never tire of attacking political dynasties, they have always embraced dynasts from Vasundhara Raje to Aparna Bisht Yadav.

When LK Advani offered to make Varun Gandhi chief minister of Uttar Pradesh

Faraz Ahmad

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its several previous incarnations have sneered at Dynasty as the bane of Indian politics, blaming it for all failures of the state, of institutions and failings of politicians. It has used 'dynasty'as a form of abuse and have for over half a century hurled insults at the Nehru-Gandhis, mocking them as queen, Rajkumar, Nawab and Shahzada.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who once had inadvertently confessed that he was a school dropout, has also been savage in expressing his resentment, never missing the opportunity to refer to his own humble origins and self-made career. Flaunting his ‘hard work’ to mock at Rahul Gandhi’s Harvard degree, he almost appears to blame the dynasty for his own struggles. On cue, BJP, RSS and Hindu Mahasabha ( there is hardly any difference now between them after a portrait of Savarkar has been put up in Parliament) also harp on dynasty and heap on 'dynasties' the blame for the mess they perceive in the country.

But it is not political dynasties that they oppose as they have shown time and again. While denigrating the contributions of one dynasty, which is much more than the sum total of their own leaders, they have had no qualm embracing other dynasties.

For several decades they accepted the patronage of 'Rajmata' Vijaya Raje Scindia. Her son Madhavrao Scindia too was in the Jana Sangh before breaking ranks and joining the Congress. They welcomed Madhavrao's son Jyotiraditya with open arms and unconcealed glee and made him a Union Cabinet minister. Vijayaraje's sister Yashodhara Raje, who has little noteworthy contribution to speak of, was a Member of Parliament and a minister in Madhya Pradesh. The Sangh Parivar has had no problem with this and indeed other 'Parivars' because even Vasundhara Raje, daughter of Vijayaraje was anointed the chief minister of Rajasthan before her son, Dushyant, a businessman, was given a BJP ticket to become Member of Parliament from Jhalawar.

That is not all. Anurag Singh Thakur of the obnoxious slogan ‘Goli maro salon ko’ fame and son of former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, is a Union cabinet minister. No, BJP has never had a problem with dynasties, except one.

When Varun Feroze Gandhi joined the BJP in 2004, among others I too asked him why he joined the BJP. His reply was candid. He could never have received the kind of welcome he got and the pre-eminence from day one in any other party, least of all in the Congress. The young Feroze Varun, who was not yet 25 at the time, confided that L K Advani had promised him the chief ministership of Uttar Pradesh, the moment he came of age. He also had a one-to-one meeting with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat soon thereafter. BJP was ecsctatic because he was the son of Sanjay Gandhi and a scion of the Nehru-Gandhi 'dynasty'.

The Prime Minister, Union Home Minister and the UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, similarly have been ridiculing the Samajwadi Party as a dynastic enterprise. But the moment Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav decided to join the BJP, all of them rushed with open arms to welcome her, never mind all their cruel barbs at her when she contested the last election on SP ticket. She was no longer a part of the 'dynasty'.

BJP knows that young dynasts can be instantly launched in the rough and tumble of politics because of their family's political legacy and hard work done by their 'dynasty'. The people's connect with such dynasties and memory of the work done by them prove to be invaluable.

While Narendra Modi never tires of pointing to his modest family and struggles, he has been running the most expensive election campaigns for over 20 years. He seems to have access to much more wealth than several dynasties taken together !

So much for dynasty and dynasts !

( The writer is a Delhi based senior journalist)

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