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Study: 1 In Every 4 BJP, Congress Lok Sabha Candidates Are Political Legatees

Study: 1 In Every 4 BJP, Congress Lok Sabha Candidates Are Political Legatees

A recent study by the election non-profit Prajatantra Foundation reveals that one in every four candidates from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress contesting the 2024 Lok Sabha elections have entered politics due to their family legacy.

According to The Print, the study, which is yet to be released, analyzed the political backgrounds of the 768 candidates fielded by both parties and found that 209 of them have a political legacy. Most of these candidates are second-generation politicians.

Prajatantra Foundation defines family legacy in politics as the scenario where an individual enters the political arena due to their familial ties or connections to established political relatives, gaining advantages such as access to networks and resources. The study categorizes these candidates into second-, third-, or fourth-generation politicians or relatives of politicians.

The ruling BJP, often vocal against dynasty politics, has 110 out of its 442 candidates (24.88%) coming from political families. In comparison, 30.36% of Congress candidates have a political legacy.

BJP’s political legacies

A closer examination of the BJP’s candidate list for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections reveals that out of the 110 candidates with political legacies, 69 are second-generation politicians. Notable among them is Bansuri Swaraj, daughter of former Union minister Sushma Swaraj, who is making her political debut from the New Delhi seat.

Other prominent second-generation candidates include B.Y. Raghavendra and Rao Inderjit Singh, sons of former chief ministers B.S. Yediyurappa (Karnataka) and Rao Birender Singh (Haryana), respectively. Ravneet Singh Bittu, who recently defected from the Congress, is the grandson of former Punjab CM Beant Singh.

The BJP’s list also features several high-profile second-generation politicians, such as Union ministers Anurag Thakur, Dharmendra Pradhan, Piyush Goyal, and Kiren Rijiju. Among the third-generation political leaders are Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, Dushyant Singh (son of former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje), and Jyoti Mirdha. Scindia and Mirdha were senior leaders in the Congress before joining the BJP.

Additionally, the BJP’s candidate roster includes Bharati Pawar (daughter-in-law of former minister Arjun Pawar), C.N. Manjunath (son-in-law of former PM H.D. Deve Gowda), Preneet Kaur (wife of former Punjab CM Amarinder Singh), Kalaben Delkar (wife of former MP Mohan Delkar), and Annasaheb Jolle (husband of former Karnataka minister Shashikala Jolle), who entered politics through their familial connections.

Congress’s political legacies

The Congress party, frequently criticized for its dynastic politics over the Gandhis, has a significant number of candidates with political legacies in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Out Of its 326 candidates, 99 have political backgrounds, resulting in a higher percentage than the BJP. Notably, Rahul Gandhi stands out as the only fourth-generation politician, contesting from both Wayanad in Kerala and Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh.

According to the Prajatantra Foundation’s findings, 80 of the Congress candidates are second-generation politicians. This list includes prominent names such as Nakul Nath (son of Kamal Nath), Vaibhav Gehlot (son of Ashok Gehlot), Vikramaditya Singh (son of the late Virbhadra Singh), Y.S. Sharmila (daughter of the late Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy), Praniti Shinde (daughter of Sushilkumar Shinde), and Gaurav Gogoi (son of the late Tarun Gogoi), all children of former chief ministers.

The Congress also fields at least four third-generation politicians. Anshul Avijit, its candidate from Patna Sahib, is the son of Meira Kumar and the grandson of Babu Jagjivan Ram. Shreyas Patel, the candidate from Hassan in Karnataka, is the son of S.G. Anupama and the grandson of former MP G. Puttaswamy Gowda. Deepender Hooda is the son of former Haryana CM Bhupinder Hooda and the grandson of Congress leader Ranbir Singh Hooda.

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Additionally, Biresh Thakur, contesting from Kanker in Chhattisgarh, comes from a family where both his father and grandfather were MLAs in Madhya Pradesh. Other notable candidates include Radhakrishna (son-in-law of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge), D.K. Suresh (brother of Karnataka Deputy CM D.K. Shivakumar), and Jyotsna Mahant (wife of former Union minister Charan Das Mahant), all of whom have close familial ties to prominent politicians.

Prajatantra is set to release a detailed report on the same once the 2024 Lok Sabha elections are over. According to Prajatantra, the study is based on both primary and secondary research and comes from a range of resources — including candidates’ affidavits, their teams, stringer networks, news reports, and articles on the candidates.

“This approach ensures a detailed profiling of the candidate’s pathways to political entry into the country.” Prajatantra is a non-profit whose primary aim is to reduce barriers to political entry and facilitate electoral participation for better governance.

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