Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi being greeted by party leaders after he filed his nomination papers for the post of party president, at the AICC office in New Delhi on Monday. (Photographer: Arun Sharma/PTI)

Dynasty Debate Returns With Rahul Gandhi’s Likely Elevation To Congress Top Post

Rahul Gandhi’s ascension to the top post in the Indian National Congress has always been a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’.

The Congress Vice President filed his nomination papers for the post of party president on Monday as senior leaders of the party looked on. But his ride to the top has been fraught with debate. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi referred to the change of guard as ‘Aurangzeb Raj’

The criticism of the internal election within the Congress party has peaked over the last few days with a former party member claiming the polls were ‘rigged’.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has also latched on to the dynasty debate, with the Prime Minister referring to the Congress internal election at least twice in his campaign speeches in poll-bound Gujarat. “The critical thing in the BJP is that there is no guarantee that the son of a political person is going to definitely become a politician,” says Nalin Kohli, National Spokesperson of the BJP. If Rahul Gandhi’s elevation is a pre-determined outcome, why call it an election at all, he demands.

They are entitled to run their party the manner they wish to run. But to then call it a democratic process is not correct.
Nalin Kohli, National Spokesperson, BJP

“Everyone in the party has the right to stand for the election,” counters Gaurav Gogoi, Congress leader and Member of Parliament in the Lok Sabha from Assam. Brushing aside the dynasty debate, Gogoi points out that of 19 Congress presidents, only 4 have belonged to the Gandhi family.

Since independence there have been 19 presidents. Out of that, the President-ship been held by a member of the Gandhi family only 4 times.
Gaurav Gogoi, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha & Leader, Indian National Congress

Yogendra Yadav, national president of political party Swaraj India, believes dynasties flourish across party lines because of lack of choice. “The menu of choice is so limited because the entry barrier to politics is so high”. Those who come from so-called dynasties “have an unfair advantage”, he explains.

Given a choice people would not want dynasties but the trouble is that they don’t have a choice.
Yogendra Yadav, National President, Swaraj India

Watch the full discussion here.