Dynasty politics is here to stay - Mayawati just proved Rahul Gandhi right

Javed M Ansari
Javed M AnsariSep 20, 2017 | 14:34

Dynasty politics is here to stay - Mayawati just proved Rahul Gandhi right

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was roundly pilloried for his remarks in the US for admitting that dynasty was a fact of life in India, in most spheres, including politics.

The BJP attacked him for trying to justify dynastic politics, but barely a week after his remarks, BSP chief Mayawati quietly unveiled her nephew Akash at a party rally in Meerut, in the process underlining what the Congress vice-president had stated.


The nephew's induction comes barely six months after the BSP chief's brother Anand Kumar was made the party vice-president on April 14.

The twin developments signal a clear succession plan, if and when the need arises, one that clearly revolves around the family. It also underlines, in no uncertain terms, Mayawati's near total reliance on her immediate family at the expense of her party loyalists.

Mayawati has chosen to follow in the footsteps of other family-run parties that she has so often criticised in the past.

She is also travelling down the same dynastic route as the Badals, Chautalas and Mulayam Singh Yadav's family, in addition, of course, to the Gandhis.

The BSP, at its inception, was meant to be a movement meant for the emancipation of Dalits and one that would encourage and throw up leaders from within its ranks to lead the community out of the morass that it finds itself in.

Kanshi Ram, though partial to Mayawati, also sought to built a vast phalanx of leaders, capable of taking the movement forward. However, much of that fell by the way side after Mayawati took charge of the organisation. Soon, all power came to be concentrated in her hands and she began working with a close-knit coterie. With the passage of time, the group became smaller as one trusted aide after the other was either shunted out or was sidelined within the party. Anybody seen as a potential threat, whether it was Swami Prasad Maurya or even Naseemuddin Siddiqui were shown the door, leading her to increasingly rely on her family.


Mayawati is known for reshuffling her pack, making sweeping changes, sometimes overnight, to her team, to keep all of them on tenterhooks and perhaps to ensure that none of them develop into power centres. She has never lost an opportunity to demonstrate that all power in the party stems from her alone and that she is the one who takes the final call on all substantive issues concerning the party.

Her decision to make her brother Anand the national vice-president of the party and to induct his son Akash into the party last week, also underlines the near total trust deficit vis-a-vis other members of the party. It also in a manner shows a remarkable loss of confidence. It shows that she does not trust many people outside the family, barring perhaps Satish Chandra Mishra, probably on account of his legal acumen.

Mayawati has over the years subtly altered the manner in which the BSP is structured by concentrating all decision-making powers in her hands. She is also in the process of making it a family-based party. Her track record shows that from the very beginning she refused to countenance any other Dalit leader howsoever small in order to ensure that she remained the undisputed leader of the Dalits.


Even during Kanshi Ram's time, she engineered the exit of several promising leaders from the community. It is perhaps a reflection of how far she has fallen from her halcyon days and her low-self confidence that she cannot trust anybody within her party other than her immediate family members.

It's a far cry from the days when she first became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1995. Her family was kept at an arm's length and her parents continued to live in a chawl in west Delhi. 

Things began to change after the demise of her mentor and the BSP founder Kanshi Ram. In her third and fourth term as chief minister, her younger brother, Anand, began to live with her and other members of the family were being seen around her. Inducting her family into the party and placing them in important positions is Mayawati's way of covering her flanks, but in doing so she has also chosen to go the way of other family-run parties she has so often criticised in the past.

While this may help her within the party, it's unlikely to help regain the stranglehold that she once enjoyed over the Dalit vote bank.

The ground has shifted from under her feet quite dramatically with the BJP. In the last Assembly elections, the BSP put up its worst performance since 1991, it won only 19 seats down from the 80 seats it had won in the 2012 Assembly elections.

This came close on the heels of the rout it suffered in the Lok Sabha elections in which it failed to win even a single seat in the Lok sabha.

Her diminishing poll performances have also prompted the rise of an organisation like the Bhim Sena, which has now begun to assert itself as a serious alternative to Dalit politics.

Last updated: September 21, 2017 | 12:19
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