Opposition parties have reacted sharply to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment that family-based parties are doing the country no good. They said constitutionally, there is no bar who becomes a member of a party. They also said that had voters not accepted them, leaders would have stood no chance of making their mark in a democracy.
Although Modi did not name any party in his remark during Constitution Day celebrations, it is assumed that among other, his comments were directed at Congress and SP, which have members of the same families in top positions.
Congress MP and Deputy Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma said that democracy in India is not in danger. “Had democracy been in danger, had Constitution not been respected, Modi could not have become the PM,” he said.
Trinamool Congress, which has Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek in a leading role, also hit back at Modi. “His statement at such an event (Constituency Day) is unfortunate. He says dynasty politics. But the Constitution doesn’t prevent anyone to be a flag-bearer of his or her party,” senior leader Sougata Roy said.
Samajwadi Party spokesperson Abdul Hafiz Gandhi said that people have a right to choose. “It’s the people who elect their representatives as per their choice. The real danger comes from parties dominated by individuals having dictatorial tendencies and no respect for the Constitution or the institutions created by or under the Constitution. BJP has weakened every constitutional institution,” he said.
Other parties also criticised the PM. “This remark is political balderdash. If anyone from the family of any politician joins politics and contests elections, it is the people who elect him or her, not the family he belongs to,” said Chitranjan Gagan, general secretary and spokesperson of RJD, which has Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tejwashi as spearhead.
Gagan said that had RJD been a family-based party, its state president would not have been someone who is not related the Yadavs. Daljeet Singh Cheema, senior leader and spokesman of Shiromani Akali Dal which has the Badals in prominent positions for years, said: “Sukhbir Singh Badal is the 20th president of the party. Before him, Parkash Singh Badal was the president. All the other 18 presidents were not related to the Badal family. Akali Dal has internal democracy. Elections are held to elect its leadership.”