File photo: Arun Jaitley. Photograph:( AFP )
Generation after generation, the Congress Party's leadership berth is reserved for a member of the preferred family, Jaitley said as he traced the post-independence history of the party from Jawaharlal Nehru to Indira Gandhi to Sanjay Gandhi to Rajiv Gandhi.
'One failed. The other won't take-off', Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said as he took a jibe on the entry of Priyanka Gandhi into politics.
Generation after generation, the Congress Party's leadership berth is reserved for a member of the preferred family, he said as he traced the post-independence history of the party from Jawaharlal Nehru to Indira Gandhi to Sanjay Gandhi to Rajiv Gandhi.
Continuing the series of his blogs on 'Agenda 2019', he said the Congress tried to remove itself from the shackles of the dynasty for a brief period after the unfortunate assassination of Rajiv Gandhi but could not get out of its clutches for long.
'Smt. Sonia Gandhi then took over as the longest serving President of the Indian National Congress and thereafter passed on the leadership baton of the Party to her son Rahul Gandhi.
'Thus, generation after generation, the Congress Party's leadership berth is reserved for a member of the preferred family. When the Party is now in doldrums, another member of the family has entered the scene,' said the senior BJP leader who is in charge of the party's publicity committee.
Jaitley was referring to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who has been recently appointed as Congress general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh.
The Finance Minister further said: "The key question is - will the dynastic parties learn from their 2014 drubbing and a possible defeat in 2019?
'Possibly not. It is here that the people of India will have to bring about a change. India is not a monarchy. Neither is it a kingdom or dynastic democracy. Dynasts disapprove persons of talent and merit.
'The real strength of democracy will be realized when the myth of dynasties is finally buried and these parties are taken over by men of competence and merit. That will provide Indians with a better choice, he said.
Another curious feature, he said, is that most families where a single dynasty created the party, have moved into the next generation.
'In the next generation, there may be more than one heir. Both the heirs become aspirational and, therefore, the parent dynast distributes the largesse. But recent history has proved otherwise,' Jaitley said.
He added that Chinese philosopher Confucius had rightly said that just as there can be only one sun in the sky, there can be only one emperor on the Earth.
'Where power-sharing between successor dynasts takes place, who is the ultimate emperor?, 'he wondered as he highlighted instances of family-based political parties in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh.
In Karnataka, he said there is an experiment of sons sharing the state and the grandsons sharing the Centre, and in Maharashtra, the initial ripples have started.
'The Congress has undertaken the same experiment. It believes that the two owners are better than one. Will Confucius be proved right and historical record that one eventually prevailed over the other or will it be otherwise. One failed. The other won't take-off,' Jaitley said.
On the other hand, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi grew from an extremely humble background.
He worked in the party organization till he was inducted into the leadership and he had to work and struggle for the positions that he got.
'He earned them," Jaitley said and exuded confidence that Modi and aspirational India would together demolish the concept of families.
'The real strength of democracy will be realized when the myth of dynasties is finally buried and these parties are taken over by men of competence and merit. That will provide Indians with a choice' the minister remarked.
India will start voting to elect next Lok Sabha from April 11. The results would be announced on May 23.