Verdict 2014

Was this a vote against dynasty? These politicians’ kids won seats this election

The children of Yashwant Sinha, Sharad Pawar, Vasundhara Raje and Pranab Mukherjee are among those who have continued with the family business.

The Congress has been dislodged from power for the next five years, but the dynastic politics that the Gandhis came to represent have not disappeared. In fact, it seems to be kicking in with more rigour, as more families make politics their business.

Many heirs and heiresses fought for a place in the 16th Lok Sabha from constituencies across the country. Here is a look at some of the dynasts who will be in parliament this year.

Jayant Sinha
Son of Yashwant Sinha, Bharatiya Janata Party
Won from Hazaribagh, Jharkhand


Jayant Sinha with Modi. AFP PHOTO/STR


Even though his father was the former finance minister and foreign affairs minister, Jayant Sinha came to politics from an entirely different world. The younger Sinha has degrees from IIT Delhi and Harvard Business School, has lived in the United States for 25 years and worked in venture capital funds. When he was allotted his father's old seat Hazaribagh, many BJP members were unhappy with the decision. Although he was virtually unknown to the residents, he eventually won with a margin of 1.6 lakh votes, defeating Congress leader SN Singh.

Poonam Mahajan
Daughter of Pramod Mahajan, BJP
Won from Mumbai North Central


When senior BJP leader Pramod Mahajan was killed by his brother in 2006, many expected his son, Rahul, to step in his shoes. Instead, it was Poonam Mahajan who signed up as a member of the party, egged on by her uncle, the Maharashtra politician Gopinath Munde. She successfully took charge of the BJP’s youth wing, but lost when she contested the Maharashtra assembly polls in 2009. In the 2014 general election, she chose to ride the Modi wave and fight from a constituency that has long been a Congress stronghold. She defeated Priya Dutt of the Congress by a margin of 1.86 lakh votes.


Gourav Gogoi
Son of Tarun Gogoi, Congress
Won from Kaliabor, Assam


While Tarun Gogoi – the chief minister of Assam for the past 13 years – has offered to resign from office over Congress’ disastrous performance in the state, his young son proved to be a saving grace for the party. Gourav Gogoi, a former Airtel marketing executive, won his maiden electoral battle from Kaliabor, defeating BJP’s the MK Saikia by 93,000 votes. Gourav has an engineering degree from Delhi’s Indraprastha University and has also studied public administration in the US.

Chirag Paswan
Son of Ram Vilas Paswan, Lok Janshakti Party
Won from Jamui, Bihar


Chirag Paswan with his father. Photo: STRDEL / AFP


In 2011, Chirag Paswan, son of prolific Bihar politician and LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan, made his debut as an actor in a Bollywood film called Miley Naa Miley Hum. The film disappeared without much of a trace, but Chirag had better luck with his debut in politics this election, winning the Jamui seat by 85,000 votes.

Dushyant Chautala
Son of Ajay Singh Chautala, Indian National Lok Dal
Won from Hisar, Haryana


By becoming the youngest MP in the Lok Sabha at the age of 26, Dushyant Chautala has taken dynastic politics in his family to the fourth generation. His great grandfather, Chaudhari Devi Lal, was a former deputy prime minister; his grandfather Om Prakash Chautala was a former chief minister of Haryana; and his father Ajay Singh Chautala has been both a Rajya Sabha and a Lok Sabha member. Dushyant Chautala won the Hisar seat by 31,000 votes.

Abhishek Singh
Son of Raman Singh, BJP
Won from Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh


As the son of Chhattisgarh’s most popular chief minister who was elected to his third term last year, Abhishek Singh was already considered a "prince" when he decided to stand for the election this year. Abhishek has an engineering degree and an MBA from Jamshedpur’s Xavier School of Management. He has worked in a multinational company in Pune. He beat his Congress rival by 2.4 lakh votes.

K Kavitha
Daughter of KC Rao, Telangana Rashtra Samithi
Won from Nizamabad, Andhra Pradesh


Riding the euphoria generated by the creation of Telangana state, TRS founder KC Rao’s daughter saw an easy victory in her first shot at politics. A software engineer, Kavitha was already popular for her work as the founder of Telangana Jagruthi, an organisation she founded in 2006 to promote the culture of Telangana. She played a role in reviving the celebration of Bathukamma, a nine-day festival specific to the region.

Dushyant Singh
Son of Vasundhara Raje, BJP
Won from Jhalawar-Baran, Rajasthan


Quite literally a shehzada, Dushyant Singh is the son of Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, who comes from the former royal Scindia clan of Gwalior, and Hemnant Singh, the titular Maharaja of Dholpur. An alumnus of institutes like Doon School, St Stephen’s College, and the Johnson and Wales University in the US, Dushyant has been an MP from Jhalawar-Baran since 2004. He secured his third term from the seat with a margin of 2.8 lakh votes.

Deepender Hooda
Son of Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Congress
Won from Rohtak, Haryana


Grandson of freedom fighter Ranbir Singh Hooda and son of Haryana’s current chief minister, Deepender has been an MP from Rohtak for two terms already. A software engineer who once worked with Reliance Industries Limited, he also serves as the president of the Haryana State Football Association.


Abhijit Mukherjee
Son of Pranab Mukherjee, Congress
Won from Jangipur, West Bengal




Now infamous as the politician who made the “dented and painted” remark about the women who protested against rape in Delhi, Abhijit Mukherjee caused much embarrassment to his father in December 2012. A mechanical engineer who had last worked with the Steel Authority of India, Abhijit started his political career when he was elected as the MP of Jangipur in October 2012. Despite the controversy, he managed to retain the seat this election.

Supriya Sule
Daughter of Sharad Pawar, Nationalist Congress Party
Won from Baramati, Maharashtra



While NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit is carrying forward the Pawar name in Maharashtra state politics, Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule has been considered his true dynastic heir. Sule was made a Rajya Sabha member in 2006 and inherited the Baramati Lok Sabha seat from her father in 2009. Even though Baramati has been an NCP stronghold for years, Supriya managed to retain the seat by a relatively small margin of just 69,000 votes.

 
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content  BY 

As India turns 70, London School of Economics asks some provocative questions

Is India ready to become a global superpower?

Meaningful changes have always been driven by the right, but inconvenient questions. As India completes 70 years of its sovereign journey, we could do two things – celebrate, pay our token tributes and move on, or take the time to reflect and assess if our course needs correction. The ‘India @ 70: LSE India Summit’, the annual flagship summit of the LSE (London School of Economics) South Asia Centre, is posing some fundamental but complex questions that define our future direction as a nation. Through an honest debate – built on new research, applied knowledge and ground realities – with an eclectic mix of thought leaders and industry stalwarts, this summit hopes to create a thought-provoking discourse.

From how relevant (or irrelevant) is our constitutional framework, to how we can beat the global one-upmanship games, from how sincere are business houses in their social responsibility endeavours to why water is so crucial to our very existence as a strong nation, these are some crucial questions that the event will throw up and face head-on, even as it commemorates the 70th anniversary of India’s independence.

Is it time to re-look at constitution and citizenship in India?

The Constitution of India is fundamental to the country’s identity as a democratic power. But notwithstanding its historical authority, is it perhaps time to examine its relevance? The Constitution was drafted at a time when independent India was still a young entity. So granting overwhelming powers to the government may have helped during the early years. But in the current times, they may prove to be more discriminatory than egalitarian. Our constitution borrowed laws from other countries and continues to retain them, while the origin countries have updated them since then. So, do we need a complete overhaul of the constitution? An expert panel led by Dr Mukulika Banerjee of LSE, including political and economic commentator S Gurumurthy, Madhav Khosla of Columbia University, Niraja Gopal Jayal of JNU, Chintan Chandrachud the author of the book Balanced Constitutionalism and sociologist, legal researcher and Director of Council for Social Development Kalpana Kannabiran will seek answers to this.

Is CSR simply forced philanthropy?

While India pioneered the mandatory minimum CSR spend, has it succeeded in driving impact? Corporate social responsibility has many dynamics at play. Are CSR initiatives mere tokenism for compliance? Despite government guidelines and directives, are CSR activities well-thought out initiatives, which are monitored and measured for impact? The CSR stipulations have also spawned the proliferation of ambiguous NGOs. The session, ‘Does forced philanthropy work – CSR in India?” will raise these questions of intent, ethics and integrity. It will be moderated by Professor Harry Barkema and have industry veterans such as Mukund Rajan (Chairman, Tata Council for Community Initiatives), Onkar S Kanwar (Chairman and CEO, Apollo Tyres), Anu Aga (former Chairman, Thermax) and Rahul Bajaj (Chairman, Bajaj Group) on the panel.

Can India punch above its weight to be considered on par with other super-powers?

At 70, can India mobilize its strengths and galvanize into the role of a serious power player on the global stage? The question is related to the whole new perception of India as a dominant power in South Asia rather than as a Third World country, enabled by our foreign policies, defense strategies and a buoyant economy. The country’s status abroad is key in its emergence as a heavyweight but the foreign service officers’ cadre no longer draws top talent. Is India equipped right for its aspirations? The ‘India Abroad: From Third World to Regional Power’ panel will explore India’s foreign policy with Ashley Tellis, Meera Shankar (Former Foreign Secretary), Kanwal Sibal (Former Foreign Secretary), Jayant Prasad and Rakesh Sood.

Are we under-estimating how critical water is in India’s race ahead?

At no other time has water as a natural resource assumed such a big significance. Studies estimate that by 2025 the country will become ‘water–stressed’. While water has been the bone of contention between states and controlling access to water, a source for political power, has water security received the due attention in economic policies and development plans? Relevant to the central issue of water security is also the issue of ‘virtual water’. Virtual water corresponds to the water content (used) in goods and services, bulk of which is in food grains. Through food grain exports, India is a large virtual net exporter of water. In 2014-15, just through export of rice, India exported 10 trillion litres of virtual water. With India’s water security looking grim, are we making the right economic choices? Acclaimed author and academic from the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, Amita Bavisar will moderate the session ‘Does India need virtual water?’

Delve into this rich confluence of ideas and more at the ‘India @ 70: LSE India Summit’, presented by Apollo Tyres in association with the British Council and organized by Teamworks Arts during March 29-31, 2017 at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. To catch ‘India @ 70’ live online, register here.

At the venue, you could also visit the Partition Museum. Dedicated to the memory of one of the most conflict-ridden chapters in our country’s history, the museum will exhibit a unique archive of rare photographs, letters, press reports and audio recordings from The Partition Museum, Amritsar.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Teamwork Arts and not by the Scroll editorial team.