Dynasts in democracy: The rise and surprise of Sachin Pilot

WION Web Team NEW DELHI Jul 28, 2020, 05.38 AM(IST) Written By: Nikhil Pandey

Rahul Gandhi with Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot. Photograph:( Twitter )

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We Indians do not have an issue with nepotism and dynasties in the public life or any other walk of life in general, the merits of this idea can be debated separately, what it must be qualified with is that we Indians also do not like unqualified dynasts.

While the coronavirus crisis has deprived us of the excitement of the IPL, the Political landscape in the country has delivered enough and more excitement to compensate for it. Just like the transfer window in the IPL, we have witnessed high octane "transfer" activity between the country's two leading parties, first with Jyotiraditya Scindia moving to the BJP with his retinue in full royal flair, and now with Sachin Pilot attempting a similar hijack of the Rajasthan Government.

The question one needs to ask is, do these, political scions so keen on getting to the next level of political power ladder, see this as their birth right?  Had Mr. Pilot not been from a famous and well established political family, would he have dared such manoeuvring while spurring high profile posts like Deputy CM of Rajasthan and State Congress Chief? Surely these are posts which hold high esteem, and several aspirants before him have worked hard for decades to deserve such stations, and surer enough, most have failed.

One may argue that dynasts like Mr. Pilot neither comprehend the value of these posts, nor are they willing to put in the requisite hard work at grassroots to earn them. One may also say that for them, political clout is inheritance and not reward for hard work and he is not willing to ‘bide his time’ to get his shot at the top job in Rajasthan.

One cannot hold it against a politician’s progeny to have followed into their parents footsteps or even inherits their political legacy. However, what we have learnt in the last decade or so is that most of these “dynasts” have had to work hard to be firmly entrenched in fiefdoms. Jagan in Telangana, Akhilesh in UP and to an extent Tejaswi Yadav in Bihar, have worked on the ground to have ‘earned’ at least a substantial part of their political clout. Mr. Pilot’s ground level efforts in Rajasthan does mark him in this category. However, it has to be acknowledged that those being the torch bearers of their dynasties offered them a huge leg up, they did not start from zero. However, to at least some of their credit they added to their legacies.

We Indians do not have an issue with nepotism and dynasties in the public life or any other walk of life in general, the merits of this idea can be debated separately, what it must be qualified with is that we Indians also do not like unqualified dynasts. You have to earn the respect of the populace or display your worth to continue. This is true in Bollywood, Cricket and Politics. 

Indeed, Mr. Pilot does display one characteristic that has sorely been missing from the Congress since the rout in 2014, it’s not just political ambition, but the fortitude to act on it. The congress, or to be more direct, the Gandhi family has not taken kindly to such fortitude. Here we must touch upon the other kind of dynasts, those who just don’t have the stomach for the fight and wish for power as a matter of inheritance. I will put names like Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, Lalu’s other son Tej Pratap Yadav to list a few who sleep-walked into high profile leadership roles and just could not deliver.

The Jury is still out on other regional dynasties in the making, KCR’s daughter, Sharad Pawar’s daughter, Bihnois, Hoodas, the list is long, Stalin, Kanimozi etc.

The one key takeaway from the Pilot saga is that political dynasties and the scions are not discounted by the public and neither their ambitions are seen as bad or greedy. This is not to say that Pilot is being seen as a wronged warrior by the people and he is some way away from really capturing the imagination of Rajasthanis or Indians. However, he has piqued our interest for sure. He chose his father’s profession and inherited his legacy. 

The current game of real-politicking with Mr Gehlot has to be seen by him as a part of the job description, he can’t expect the top jobs on the platter now. He is just paying his dues, commiserate to his ambition. The surname is not enough anymore, you have to earn the affections of the voting public by working hard to win their trust and votes. This is a lesson that should not be lost on Mr Pilot or any other ambitious dynast in the din of these times.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)