The pre-Independence movement of India made a demand of self-governance in front of the English ruling class. Social reformers at that time made people think of their natural and fundamental rights. The times saw an upsurge in revolt and revolutionary activities not only against the English but also against Indian feudal lords. That was a clear indication of the fact that people were not only against a foreign a rule but also against a monarchy or authoritarian regime. And ultimately we got our Independence, with a democratic form of government.
A new government was elected after the elections of 1951-52. The joy on the faces of India’s people was impossible to express. Our first government was doing good; the country was growing rapidly. But at the same time, there was something wrong also in progress. A dark evil hiding itself in the guise of ‘good’ was growing. It was in the political parties’ internal governance, that is the dynastic succession of the party head, and the important staff of the intra-party system. This intra-party dynastic succession can be seen in the Indian National Congress party, where the Gandhis rule over the party. But it is not only confined to the INC. Today all other big parties shows symptoms of this feudal and hereditary succession in office. It can be seen at ground level in some places where the MLA or MP seat goes from father to family successor. What we see here is that peasants and the poorest people who fought for democracy in the national movement of the India only ended up as voting machines. This evil of hereditary office succession in political parties defies the basic tenet of the democracy. In India, this flaw in our system made our democracy less a rule by people and more of a vote by people.
One might ask if a son, daughter, or relative of a prestigious politician has no right to be like a family member who is a political leader. Yes they have that right, and, in a democracy like India’s, no one’s right can be snatched away. They can be the head of a party, an MP, an MLA, or whatever they want in their life. They are the same as the common people of India. They are as free as everyone else. But the question arises about their official posts, when there are other more competent members who should be given the task. But we see nepotism when parties select their successors. Due to this, those who are real contenders for the position lose out at the hands of a person who shows their ‘hereditary right’ to that post. And this loss of democracy cannot be digested.
The removal of this hereditary succession in politics is need of hour to save democracy for which our ancestors fought bravely and many for which many lost their lives. Parties should be transparent to show their working and selection process for the post of eminence in their system. They should reveal the names and process of selection.
The dream of being in a top position like the prime minister of a country is on the mind of so many citizens of this country. But this can only be achievable when people are not only ready to vote but also have the chance to be voted for. Intra-party democracy is the way to achieve this dream.
Hereditary succession only makes parties underestimate the desires of the people. And whenever there is underestimation, there is a chance of a revolution.