The BJP on Saturday said the trend of political families and dynasties overruling merit was a challenge that needed to be dealt with if India wanted to fight the problems it was facing.
“Structured political parties being centred around families ... Structured families and dynasties replacing the criteria of merit. This is one challenge if actually we are able to address it, it may impinge on the kind of thought process we have and kind of perspective we have to issues,” said Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley.
Interestingly, he said, this was a trend seen more in political parties which were formed post-1990 when economic reforms were taking place in the country.
The BJP has been accusing the Congress of practising dynastic politics and has targeted the Nehru-Gandhi family.
Speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here, Mr. Jaitley said the parties which were formed post-reforms were “caste-centric” and their social support base defied even performance, while social sanction was given (by the electorate) even to those who lacked integrity.
The BJP leader enumerated lack of progress in agricultural production, poverty among tribals, the way successive governments dealt with the Kashmir problem, insurgency within and outside the country as the other challenges that would confront the nation in the next two decades.
“There still will be a large part of India which will be living in poverty. And one area I am particularly worried about where I don't see any significant movement taking place is bang in the centre of India — the tribal areas.”
The growth level in the agricultural sector had been nominal. “Our population is perhaps going to increase faster than our agricultural growth.” This might shatter the country's dreams of being a surplus food economy.
On the Kashmir issue, he said, “We have lived with it for over six decades which should give us a historical perspective of how we tried to resolve it was fundamentally erroneous. There were blunders we committed. In the last six decades every generation has paid for it.”
Mr. Jaitley called for a change in the Centre's policy towards Kashmir. The BJP had often accused the Congress-led UPA government of being soft on separatists in Kashmir.
“The issue arising in and on account of the Kashmir problem ... Unless the governments of the day realise that the road map we adopted was fundamentally erroneous and needs to be substantially changed [the issue cannot be resolved],” he said.
CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said there were different forms of terror plaguing the country such as “terror of hunger, of malnutrition, the terror of your child dying as you do not have access to medical facilities.”
Ms. Karat said the 2G spectrum scam had shown that there was a “most malignant nexus” of certain forces and the nature of politics in India was being increasingly determined by big money.