At a recent election rally in Karnataka's Gangavathi town, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Lok Sabha election is about "nation first or family first". This is a long-running trope for BJP. Even in the 2014 general election it labelled Congress-led UPA as "maa bete ki sarkar". It's argued that Modi government is efficient precisely because the PM is self-made and unattached. Alongside India has witnessed the growth of a different kind of party Where decision making authority is centralised not so much in the hands of a family or dynasty but in a single person, or at best a very restricted group close to the leader. The cult of the leader, who is in many cases single and unattached, has grown. This alternative model to dynastic politics too has its drawbacks.
While in dynastic outfits leadership talent is often sacrificed so that a family member can run these outfits, political parties orbiting around single leaders develop their own structural weaknesses over time. By and by the cult of the leader limits delegation of responsibilities within these parties as also intraparty debate. As members invest more in pleasing the leader, they become less inclined to pursue excellence themselves or to offer ideas that run counter to the leader's preferences. Inordinate centralisation of power ends up hurting governance.
In the long run it doesn't bode well for the party either. Consider AIADMK's inheritance of fracture after the death of supremo J Jayalalithaa. Her stature as an all-powerful party boss was also crafted out of a self-made and unmarried identity. After her, party leaders have played musical chairs with the chief ministership even as a breakaway faction is raucously claiming to be the legitimate heir. Over in Bengal Trinamool seems to run under the writ of Mamata Banerjee alone. As BJD has grown across Odisha, so has the cult of Naveen Patnaik. Neither party has a second-rung leadership of note.
In that context, at least dynastic parties tend to have a clear succession plan. They can even accommodate different power centres within the first family, allowing for greater inputs from across the party fold. As for BJP, its anti-dynastic position should extend to decentralising power within itself. Ultimately, voters vote for delivery. And the odds of being able to deliver go up by leaps and bounds when a diversity of talent, initiative and good ideas has a free run within the party.
saving score / loading statistics ...