Indian voters like dynasties, says US poll

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Washington: Voters in India are largely comfortable with electing dynastic candidates despite pollsters predicting a gloomy picture in upcoming national election for Rahul Gandhi, scion of the country’s most celebrated political family, a survey said today.

A poll released by the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace confirmed recent surveys pointing to a strong showing by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after a decade of rule by the Congress, which is headed by Mr Gandhi’s mother, in the election beginning on April 7.

Mr Gandhi, 43, whose father, grandmother and great-grandfather were all prime ministers, is widely seen as the Congress’ prime ministerial candidate.

But the poll did not support suggestions that Indians have rejected hereditary candidates. Instead, 46 per cent of voters said they preferred politicians who come from dynasties.

“What we found was kind of shocking,” said Milan Vaishnav, an associate at the Carnegie Endowment’s South Asia program.

“Nearly one in two Indians say, if I had a choice, I would prefer to vote for a candidate who has a family background,” he said.

The vast majority of voters who preferred dynasties said they thought such candidates would be more adept or likely to succeed, with only 15 per cent saying that their main motivation was an expectation of patronage.


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