Family Politics

For a summary of Family Politics, read on, and for the FULL DATASET, click here. For more about India: A Portrait by Patrick French, click here.

‘French’s database will go a long way in explaining who governs India to the world. He doesn’t say that hereditary MPs are bad, nor that they should not stand for election. Rather, he shows how political success depends on who your parents are … The importance of this data for students of political science cannot be over-estimated – not because one out of six people in the world is an Indian, but because, as French notes, one out of every two people living in a democracy is an Indian.’

-The Independent

How open is the Indian political system? Yes, it is the world’s largest democracy and everyone has a right to vote – and that is a precious thing. But does everyone really have an opportunity to stand for Parliament? You can vote, but what are the chances you will ever be voted for?

While researching his new book India: A Portrait – published in India and the UK in January 2011 by Penguin, and forthcoming in the USA from Knopf in June 2011 – Patrick French (@PatrickFrench2 on Twitter) conducted a one-of-its kind survey which tried to answer the following question: What does it take to join politics at the national level today? Is it within or out of reach for the many millions of capable Indians who might like to throw a hat in the ring?

Once the information about all 545 MPs in the Lok Sabha was received, tabulated and analyzed, the political background was classified into 9 categories. No significant family background: MPs who had made their way on their own ability; BusinessFamily: MPs who owe their access to the political system to their family background (also called hereditary MPs or HMPs for our survey); Inducted: MPs who were usually actors/actresses/cricketers or had parachuted into Parliament; Maoist Commander; Royal family; RSS; Student politics; Trade union.

At first glance, it appears that less than half of all MPs in the current Lok Sabha have entered politics through the grassroots:


46.8% of the MPs have no significant family political background. Three out of ten MPs (28.6%) entered politics through family connections. This did not seem a surprising statistic, but further investigation revealed more.

Breaking down the data further, we found that an alarming 69.5% of women MPs came into politics through family connections. After the 108th Constitution Amendment (passed by the Indian Parliament in 2010 to reserve 33 per cent of seats in national and state-elected bodies for women) is implemented, this number is likely to rise further.

Then came a much more disturbing piece of information: A disaggregated analysis of the political background of MPs with age suggests that there is a direct linear relationship between age and hereditary MPs: a greater proportion of younger MPs have a family political background, in comparison to others. So if you are young and want to join national politics, one of the only available routes seems to be through family connections. Take a look at this:

  • ~ All MPs whose age is less than 30 years are hereditary.
  • .
  • ~ More than two-thirds of MPs aged under 40 are hereditary.
  • .
  • ~ 27 MPs are ‘hyperhereditary’, and 19 of them are in the Congress party. By hyperhereditary, we mean that they have several family members who have made a career out of politics.

The average age of a hereditary MP is 48 years, whereas the average age of an MP with no significant family background is 58 years. Since a hereditary MP is likely to join parliament at an early age, this translates into a decade of political advantage for him/her.

So which parties practice family politics?  Congress leads the way in dynasty politics. All 11 Congress MPs under 35 years are hereditary.

Almost nine out of every ten (88%) Congress MPs under 40 are hereditary and the percentage increases as age reduces. The near perfect linear relationship is illustrated in the following graph:

The proportion of hereditary MPs in Congress (37.5%) is approximately equal to the proportion of Congress MPs who do not have any significant family background (40.4%).

And what about the regional parties?

Regional parties have a higher incidence of hereditary MPs, in comparison to the national parties. Here are some statistics:

So are some states in India more dynastic than others? Click here to read more. And to see more on our new findings, that a hyper-hereditary MP (HHMP), or one who has multiple family connections in politics, is THREE TIMES MORE LIKELY to become a minister, click here.

Or to learn about different aspects of India: A Portraitclick here.

28 Responses to Family Politics

  1. vikram singh says:

    Eenadu is the world wide publication. Eenadu ranks No. 6 among the regional languages dailies with a Total Readership (TR) of 5,906,000. By 1975, Eenadu managed to achieve its target of becoming a daily publication. However, it was popular in regions and rivalry was still an issue. Eenadu hired a new set of directors to be part of its key decision and management group which drove it towards what it is today: the mostly highly circulated newspaper in the region.

  2. RicktaHima says:

    This is a politics site that is deals with update news of political position. I have seen a site that is deals with Jr. NTR biography, profile, biodata, height, age, Date of birth, siblings, wiki, family details. Jr. NTR profile, Image gallery link with profile details.

  3. Unknown says:

    Excellent post, exactly for what I was looking for.
    Arvind Kejriwal has done one good thing have actually proved that it is not impossible.. unfortunately he was caught with wrong moves and has become a utter failure.. but definitely there is a lot to pick up from his experience

  4. hemen parekh says:

    Nothing But Despair ?

    Do forthcoming Lok Sabha elections hold anything but despair for the women of India ?

    Unfortunate , but I don’t think so

    Optimists may want to look at the following statistics :

    Lok Sabha of / No of Women Contestants / Winners / Percentage

    > 1957 / 45 / 27 / 60 %
    > 1967 / 67 / 30 / 45 %
    > 1980 / 142 / 28 / 20 %
    > 1998 / 274 / 43 / 16 %
    > 1999 / 296 / 52 / 17 %
    > 2004 / 355 / 45 / 13 %
    > 2009 / 556 / 59 / 10 %
    > 2014 ? 600 ? 60 ? 10 % ?

    My reasons for despair :

    > Even though marginally more number of women may contest in 2014 ,
    the percentage of women winners may either remain same or decline

    > Apparently – and sadly – women voters ( nearly 400+ million ) will
    continue to vote for male candidates

    > With a male-dominated Lok Sabha , Women’s Reservation Bill , which is
    pending for the past 40 years , will continue to remain pending for next
    40 years

    > With 11 % women in Lok Sabha , India ranks 111th out of 185 countries
    when it comes to women representation in parliaments of these countries

    > Criminalization of politics will continue as before , despite the fact that ,in
    the current Lok Sabha , only 6 women MPs have ” Criminal Cases ”
    pending against them , as against 161 male MPs who have such a
    reputation !

    Is there any hope ?

    Yes ,

    > If all women members of 7 National level and 34 Regional level political
    parties resign en-masse from their current parties and come together to
    form WAR ( Women And Rights ) party

    > Accept only women as members of this WAR party

    > Put up women candidates for all 543 Lok Sabha seats ( too late for 2014 )

    > Persuade women voters not to vote for any male candidate


    If you think , by some magic , male-dominated Lok Sabha will hand-over to
    you EQUALITY on a platter , then forget it

    You are fooling no one but yourself !

    Don’t expect the males to gift you , your RIGHTS

    You will need to forcefully snatch away what is rightfully , yours !

    Stop self – pity and ask yourself ,

    ” How come a developing African country like RWANDA , has 60 % members of its parliament , women ? ”

    * hemen parekh ( 30 March 2014 / Mumbai )

  5. Halkat Swami says:


    NEHRU CLAN – Congress
    1. Jawaharlal Nehru (PM)
    2. Vijaya Laxmi Pandit (Nehru’s Sister, MP)
    3. Indira Gandhi (PM)
    4. Uma Nehru (Indira’s Cousin, MP)
    5. Arun Nehru (Son of Uma, MP, Minister)
    6. Sanjay Gandhi (MP, Party General Secretary)
    7. Rajiv Gandhi (PM)
    8. Sonia Gandhi (Rajiv’s Widow, Party President)
    9. Rahul Gandhi (Rajiv’s Son, MP, Party Vice President)
    10. Priyanka Gandhi (Rajiv’s Daughter, Active Party Activist)

    1. Maneka Gandhi (Sanjay Gandhi’s Widow, MP)
    2. Varun Gandhi (Sanjay’s Son, MP)

    ABDULLAH CLAN – National Conference
    1. Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah
    2. Begum Akbar Abdullah (Wife of Sheikh Mohammed, MP)
    3. Farooq Abdullah (Sheikh Mohammed’s Son, CM)
    4. Omar Abdullah (Farooq’s Son, CM)
    5. Begum Khalida Shah (Farooq’s Daughter)
    6. Ghulam Mohammed Shah (Farooq’s Son-in-Law)

    MUFTI CLAN – People’s Democratic Party
    1. Mufti Mohammed Sayeed
    2. Salman Anees Soz (Mufti’s Son)
    3. Mehbooba Mufti (Mufti’s Daughter)

    BEANT SINGH CLAN – Congress
    1. Beant Singh (CM)
    2. Gurkanwal Kaur (Wife, MLA)
    3. Ravneet Singh Bittu (Son, MP)
    4. Tej Parkash Singh (MLA, Minister)
    5. Gurkirat Singh (MLA)

    1. Yadavindra Singh (King of Patiala)
    2. Mohinder Kaur (MP)
    3. Amarinder Singh (CM)
    4. Preneet Kaur (Amarinder’s Wife, MLA, Minister, MP)
    5. Raninder Singh (Amarainder’s Son, MLA, MP)
    6. Malvinder Singh (Amarinder’ Brother, MLA)

    BADAL CLAN – Akali Dal
    1. Parkash Singh Badal (CM, MP, Minister)
    2. Sukhbir Singh Badal (Parkash’s Son, Deputy CM, Party President)
    3. Hasimrat Kaur Badal (Sukhbir’s Wife, MP)

    BRAR CLAN – Akali Dal
    1. Jaswinder Singh Brar (MLA, Minister)
    2. Mantar Singh Brar (Son, MLA)
    3. Paramjit Kaur Dhillon (Daughter, Municipality)

    SANGAMA CLAN – National People’s Party | Congress
    1. PA Sangama (MLA, MP, Minister, Speaker)
    2. Agatha Sangama (Daughter, MLA, MP)
    3. Conrad Sangama (Son, MLA)

    DIKSHIT CLAN – Congress
    1. Uma Shanker Dikshit (MP, Minister)
    2. Sheila Dikshit (Daughter in Law, CM, MP, Minister)
    3. Sandeep Dikshit (Sheila’s Son, MP)

    1. Chaudhury Charan Singh (MP, PM)
    2. Ajit Singh (Son, MP, Minister)
    3. Jayant Chaudhary (Grandson, MP)

    DEVI LAL CLAN – Indian National Lok Dal
    1. Devi Lal (CM, MP, PM)
    2. Om Prakash Chautala (Son, CM)
    3. Ranjit Singh (Son, MP – Congress)
    4. Ajay Singh Chautala (Ranjit’s Son, MLA)
    5. Abhay Singh Chautala (Ranjit’s Son, MLA)

    BANSI LAL CLAN – Congress
    1. Bansi Lal (CM)
    2. Surender Singh (Son, MP)
    3. Kiran Chaudhary (Surinder’s Wife, MP)
    4. Shruti Chaudhary (Surender’s Wife, MP)
    5. Ranbir Singh Mahendra (Son, MLA)

    BHAJAN SINGH CLAN – Haryana Janhit Congress
    1. Bhajan Lal (CM)
    2. Chander Mohan (Son, Deputy CM)
    3. Kuldeep Bishnoi (Son, MP)
    4. Renuka Bishnoi (Kuldeep’s Wife, MLA)

    HOODA CLAN – Congress
    1. Ranbir Singh Hooda (MP, Minister)
    2. Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Son, CM)
    3. Deepender Singh Hooda (Bhupinder’s Son, MP)

    DEVI LAL CLAN – Indian National Lok Dal
    1. Devi Lal (CM, MP, PM)
    2. Om Prakash Chautala (Son, CM)
    3. Ranjit Singh (Son, MP – Congress)
    4. Ajay Singh Chautala (Ranjit’s Son, MLA)
    5. Abhay Singh Chautala (Ranjit’s Son, MLA)

    1. Laloo Prasad Yadav (CM, MP, Minister)
    2. Rabri Devi (Wife, MLA, CM)
    3. Tejaswi Yadav (Son, MP)
    4. Sadhu Yadav (Brother, MLA, MP)
    5. Subhash Yadav (Rabri’s Brother, MLA, MP)

    1. Lalit Narayan Mishra (MP, Minister)
    2. Kameshwari Devi (Wife, MP)
    3. Vijay Kumar Mishra (Son, MLC, MP)
    4. Gouri Shankar Rajhans (Niece’s Husband, MP)
    5. Jagannath Mishra (Brother, MP, Minister)
    6. Nitish Mishra (Jagannath’s Son, MLA, Minister)
    7. Rishi Mishra (Vijay Kumar’s Son, Janta Dal Party General Secretary)
    8. Shipra Mishra (Jagannath’s Daughter-in-Law, Mahila Congress)

    YADAV CLAN – Samajwadi Party
    1. Mualyam Singh Yadav (CM, MP, Minister)
    2. Akhilesh Yadav (Son, MLA, MP, CM)
    3. Dimple Yadav (Akhilesh’s Wife, MP)
    4. Dharmendra Yadav (Nephew, MP)
    5. Shivpal Singh Yadav (Cousin, MLA, Minister)
    6. Ram Gopal Yadav (Cousin, MP)

    KHURSHID CLAN – Congress
    1. Khurshid Alam Khan (MP, Minister)
    2. Salman Khurshid (Son, MP, Minister)
    3. Louise Khurshid (Salman’s Wife, Defeated MP Candidate)

    1. Vasundhara Raje Scindia (Vijayaraje’ Daughter, CM)
    2. Dushyant Singh (Son, MP)

    1. Digvijay Singh (CM, MP, Minister)
    2. Jaivardhan Singh (Son, MP)

    1. Rajmata Vijayraje Scindia (MP – BJP)
    2. Madhavrao Scindia (Son – Congress)
    3. Jyotiraditya Scindia (Madhavrao’s Son – Congress)
    4. Yashodhara Raje Scindia (Vijayaraje’s Daughter, MLA, BJP)

    1. Biju Patanaik
    2. Naveen Patanaik (Son)

    1. Sharad Pawar (50 Years in Power, Called Corruption King)
    2. Supriya Sule (Pawar’s Daughter)
    3. Ajit Pawar (Nephew, MLA, Deputy CM)

    DEORA CLAN – Congress
    1. Murli Deora
    2. Milind Deora

    THACKEREY CLAN – Shiva Sena and MNS
    1. Bal Thackerey
    2. Shrikant Thackrey (Brother)
    3. Uddhav Thackerey (Son)
    4. Raj Thackerey (Nephew)

    PATIL CLAN – Congress
    1. D.Y.Patil (Congress Fund Raiser, Bihar Governor)
    2. Satej alias Bunty Patil (Brother, MLA, Minister)

    NAIK CLAN – Congress
    1. Ganesh Naik (MP, Minister)
    2. Sanjeev Naik (Son, MP)
    3. Sandeep Naik (Son, MLA)
    4. Tukaram Naik (Opposition Leader, Navi Mumbai Municipality)
    5. Gyaneshwar Naik
    6. Sagar Naik (Son of Gyaneshwar, Mayor)

    GOWDA CLAN – Janata Dal
    1. HD Deve Gowda (PM)
    2. HD Kumaraswamy (Son, CM)
    3. H D Revanna (Son, MLA, Minister)

    1. YSR Yeddyruppa (CM)
    2. Y Raghavendra (Son, MP)
    3. B Y Vijendra (Son)
    4. R N Sohan Kumar (Son in Law)
    5. PRERENA TRUST – run by Yeddyurappa’s family

    1. M. Karunanidhi (CM)
    2. MK Alagiri (Son, MLA, MP, Minister)
    3. MK Stalin (Son, Deputy CM)
    4. Kanimozi (Daughter, MP)
    5. Murasoli Maran (Nephew, MP, Minister)
    6. Dayanidhi Maran (Murasoli’s Son, MP, Minister)

    1. Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao “NT Rama Rao or NTR” (CM)
    2. Laxmi Parvathy, (2nd Wife of NTR, Party President)
    3. Nandamuri Harikrishna (Son, MP, Minister)
    4. Nandamuri Balakrishna (Son, MLA)
    5. Daggubati Purandareswari (Daughter, MLA, Minister)
    6. Daggubati Venkateswara Rao (Son-in-Law, MLA, MP, Minister)
    7. Nara Chandrababu Naidu (Son-in-Law, CM)

    YSR REDDY CLAN – Congress
    1. Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy (CM)
    2. Y. S. Vijayamma (Wife, MLA)
    3. Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy (Son, MP)
    4. Y. S. Vivekananda Reddy (Brother, MLA, Minister)

  6. Big SETI says:

    What India faces today are the results of the great leaders of India who themselves did not believe in Freedom, Democracy & Equality except for the lip service only. The first internal elections with in Congress were marred by Gandhi in favour of Nehru. So the first major stone was laid for the grave of Democracy by Gandhi & Nehru themselves.
    The second major one was, the giving of name Gandhi to Indira by adopting her husband as his son on Nehru’s insistence by Gandhi to continue reaping the influence of name Gandhi & continue its saga in the so called independent India.
    Rest is all history.

  7. dattajv says:

    it is unfortunate but true. politics has become a profitable business/profession
    for the already entrenched families. They have all the money/clout which
    allows them to maintain henchmen/chemchaas who help them in their land
    grabbing, extortions, who also can rig votes. As long as the poor
    remain unlettered, the supremacy of the familie will continue. unless
    the politician makes a self goal of committing gross atrocities/extra
    high corruption he is sure to comeback to the seat of power.
    If there is a system of curbing black money, like making all transactions
    through banks, removig from circulation 1000 and 500 rupee notes, the situation may
    change somewhat.

  8. Leisure Tours says:

    I enjoy reading article. Hope i can find more articles like this one. Thanks for posting..

  9. Abhishek Bhattacharya says:

    It has been incorrectly mentioned that the 108th Amendment Bill has been passed by the Parliament. It has only been passed in Rajya Sabha and is still pending in the Lok Sabha. It is not a question of implementation therefore. Pls, correct the same.

  10. Dr Ramesh Kumar , Ambala says:

    Family politics is a part and parcel of Indian political system. Excellent analysis.

  11. vara says:

    True, family connections work in politics and films, not in areas where talent must be proved, bollywood star saif ali khan having a lineage of films and cricket chose films and proved himself after so many years which is not possible in sports like cricket. Same is the case with other star cricketer kids. Unfortunately, because of the ban in student politics in various educational institutions we loose many emerging leaders who do not carry the political lineage.

  12. tamilselvan says:


  13. luiz fernando says:

    Meu nome é Luiz Fernando castro tenho 48 ano moro em São Paulo Capital,na rua Campo Belo do Sul 464 PQ Vitoria ,estou desempregado sou casado e tenho dois filhos sendo a mais nova com oito meses, estou desesperado precisando muito de sua ajuda, estou com dois alugueis atrasados , mas gostaria de pagar o mais atrasado que esta em torno de 1.074,00 reais mas só tenho 500,00 e preciso do restante para pagar , por isso estou pedindo a sua ajuda , por favor se você puder me ajudar agradeceria muito, o outro aluguel vou conseguir pagar com os,bicos que estou fazendo , se quiser entrar em contato com a imobiliária, pode entrar é a Imobiliária Eisa Imóveis . me desculpem por entrar assim em seu E-mail mas , estou muito desesperado por não estar conseguindo arrumar esse dinheiro , é só isso que peço essa ajuda , pois os próximo alugueis vamos pagar . Por favor já venceu no dia 10/03/11e a imobiliária está me pressionando ;não quero prejudicar minha fiadora, mesmo porque ela também não tem condições. Por isso o meu desespero, e essa pessoa também não pode me emprestar. Pagarei o empréstimo , mas me perdoe pois só poderei pagar parcelado. Muito Obrigado peço a DEUS para que os abençoem , para que assim possam nos ajudar .qualquer duvida meu telefone é 11-60696409. Obrigado Luiz Fernando Castro Silva

  14. Rahul says:

    This is not surprising! It happens in each and every field in india. Take Bollywood for example, see the trend. Majority of youngster are star kids or have some link with the Industry! They fail and fail and fall and still get another chance and eventually make it. Does others get these chances? No..Few things will never change. gets worst.

    • Big SETI says:

      Politics & political power is not equivalent to say Stardom or Big Business etc.
      Exploitation of family resources & name etc cannot be eliminated without eliminating the concept of family itself but some things cannot be allowed to use family resources like politics, judiciary, medical sciences etc since they have lethal consequences for general populations.

  15. AK says:

    Wonder how states are fairing? There must be million more expamples where lineage has been utilized to gain “candidability” so selections could be made to look like election. That’s “fair” in a lot of places.

    Good thing is that masses are increasingly discomforted by it.

  16. SRao says:

    The question of whether or not these hereditary MP’s are doing good work is rather moot. Hereditary politics is dangerous for the same reason the caste system is dangerous. It entrenches a social system based not on merit in itself but on birth and background. If infact a herediatry MP is doing good work, would he or she be able to emulate the same model of administration/governance far from the geoghraphical area of their family’s influence and still win a place in the parliament? If yes, then they deserve to be an MP, if not they don’t.

  17. Bijoya says:

    The information shared was already a “SILENT UNKNOWN FACT”..which needs to be broken down….but thnkx to the person who had published it to the common to let them know as exactly how the parliament member system works…………

    but if this tradition is nt broken..India wud soon lie in hands of some brainless..influential and inefficient leaders…

  18. Vishal Jain says:

    Nice stats about our parliament.

  19. Manish Gill says:

    Of course they entered via family ties. Who doesn’t? Its not only in India, but on a global scale. If you have a friend or family who can get you into a good position, would you not ask them for the favor?
    Saying it it just in the politics is hypocritical. We all have a friend who has a friend who can do something we want quickly and we are never afraid to exploit that connection, whether it is for the making of a driver’s license or entering into the film industry or politics.
    Goes to show why the country is still at the back-end of the world. Shame, ’cause you’d think at least in politics, the system would provide for some measure to discourage it. But then again, these people ARE the system.

    • Big SETI says:

      Except Politics everywhere one is affecting one’s own life by taking leverage from family connections or using family name. Here we are talking about Democracy not Feudalism.

      Politics gives Power/Authority which affects other people’s lives.

  20. amit says:

    Very interesting work..

  21. Ahsan Khan says:

    As long as they are capable and deliver to the people they represent then being hereditary is not an issue. After all being in politics because of heredity is not a sin. I wonder if this survey has done any analysis of the work these hereditary MPs are doing ???

  22. Roy says:

    Dynastic politics is only going to increase, as is indicated by all young politicians belonging to political families. At the time of independence, a new born democracy had politicians from all walks of life. But their children and grandchildren are creating an entrenchment in the system. This trend will not change unless political parties democratize themselves.

  23. barun says:

    It would be interesting to see if there is a similar trend in other profession as well – film, music, law, medicine, etc.

    • Nish says:

      Of course there will be a similar trend. Your first impressions about a good life stem from your own surroundings. But the question remains ” Do these people deserve such esteemed jobs ?” Certainly in medicine, I have progressed through my career by hard work, passing competetive exams and proving my worth. How many of these supposed young guns of Indian politics would have any experience let alone a university degree in politics or related matters. If you go through their CVs I bet you are more likely to find Masters in English Literature from Oxford, which would ceratinly explain their excellent eloquence in TV interviews !!!!!

    • Unknown says:

      I see this trend repeating in Civil service officers family.. wonder if they influence through power or intellect.. I see most of the family members of IAS officers..being in civil service by default…

  24. dewang says:

    Very Interesting ,I Think that time has come for A Change in the Political System..

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