As Karnataka gears up for its election in Ramanagara, State Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is all set to campaign for his wife Anitha Kumaraswamy, the approved candidate from the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition. And this recent development throws the spotlight on nepotism in politics, which in all likelihood, is here to stay.

From grandfather to grandson, Congress did set a bad example of promoting dynasty politics and in Karnataka, JD(S) follows suit. Criticising this attitude of the JD(S), BJP said that Kumaraswamy's party's first preference is always given to immediate family members despite the existence of several promising leaders and cadres. "More than three members of the family are MLAs in the JD(S) and now Anitha Kumaraswamy, chief minister's wife is given preference. I am not telling that nepotism is not there in other political parties, but it is much more in this regional party," said Dr Vaman Acharya, Karnataka BJP Spokesperson.

He further added that politics based on language, caste and nepotism is dangerous and it destroys democracy. Citing examples from Tamil Nadu and Telangana where Karunanidhi's family and K Chandrasekhar Rao's family taking over governance from gram panchayats to parliamentary constituencies, Acharya said that it's bad days ahead for democracy. "It kills new abilities. No good shining leader will get recognition. The same happened in Uttar Pradesh with Amar Singh. Mulayam Yadav of Samajwadi just thwarted Amar Singh's growth as Singh was emerging as a national leader. Here JD(S) will stunt the growth of all Karnataka Congress members, while promoting their own JD(S) family members," Acharya pointed out.                               

Agreeing with nepotism in politics, JD(S) leaders say that it has been prevalent for ages and it will only continue to remain. Defending JD(S)'s role in family politics, Tanveer Ahmed, national spokesperson of the party, said, "Nepotism has a good side too and HD Kumaraswamy is the best example. He has proved his abilities. He has banned lottery, arrack, etc. He outclassed others in the family. Similarly, in case of LJP, which is NDA's  partner, the party chief Ram Vilas Paswan's son is growing as a strong leader. See how he brought his father into the limelight. Remember, blood is thicker than water," said Ahmed. 

Congress, which is a pioneer of sorts in terms of family politics, is continuing the trend in Karnataka too. MP Mallikurjan Kharge promoted his son Priyank and now he is in the Cabinet as minister. Similarly, KH Muniyappa promoted his daughter Roopa Sashidhar as MLA. Former minister Ramalinga Reddy ensured his daughter Sowmya Reddy gets elected as MLA. And now Roshan Baig is planning to launch his son Ruman Baig into politics.

Defending this move, Ramalinga Reddy said, "We purely go by the winning formula. Hence we choose immediate family members. Others also get promoted based on their ability."     

A source in Congress said that nepotism is not just limited to politics, but media and even judiciary are not spared. "Only a particular section of people get a chance to head to the top. Why is this not questioned there?" said a senior Congress leader.