The kith and kin of political leaders of various hues are increasingly finding their way into the lists of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra.
Senior Congress leader Datta Meghe's son, Sagar Meghe, has got the party ticket from Wardha. BJP has nominated Poonam Mahajan, daughter of the late Pramod Mahajan, as the candidate against Congress' Pirya Dutt, the daughter of late Sunil Dutt.
Rekha Khadse, daughter-in-law of Opposition leader Eknath Khadse, is likely to get the BJP ticket from Raver in Jalgaon. Supriya Sule, NCP chief Sharad Pawar's daughter, has been renominated from Baramati.
Forest and rehabilitation minister Patangrao Kadam's son, Vishwajeet Kadam, has been trying for the Congress ticket from Pune. Former chief minister Ashok Chavan's wife, Ameeta, has been nominated by the Congress from Nanded. Milind Deora, son of senior Congress leader Murli Deora, is re-contesting from South Mumbai. Industrial minister Narayan Rane's son, Nilesh Rane, has been renominated by the
Congress from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurgh. Former minister AT Pawar's daughter, Bharati Pawar, is the NCP nominee from Dindori.
"These lists shows that hereditary politics is not limited to the Nehru-Gandhi family. Shiv Sena and BJP fare no better. Politicians encourage dynastic politics to keep power within the family. Politics is a symbol of power, money, prestige, etc. So, they do not want to share these things with anyone else," said Surendra Jondhale, professor of political science at Mumbai University. "Dynastic politics is bad for democracy. It stops good leaders from coming up and breeds sycophants. If a few people assert themselves and come up on their own merit, they are deprived of opportunities at the upper level. It is not the sign of a vibrant and healthy democracy," Jondhale added.
Meanwhile, Nawab Malik, NCP spokesperson, said that if the person was capable and had the potential to fulfil voters' expectations, there was nothing wrong in giving him/her party tickets. "People from a dynasty should be the natural choice of the voters. No party should impose him/her on voters. If that's not the case, then it's not good for democracy," said Malik.
According to a Congress leader, if the son of a doctor can become a doctor, then there is nothing wrong in a politician's son/daughter becoming a politician. "If they can prove themselves, they can remain in politics. Someone incapable do not have the chance of getting elected again and again. Dynasty may help one fetch a ticket, but he/she has to prove his/her mettle in the political space to remain a leader," he said.