The clamour for deceased Andhra CM Rajasekhara Reddy's son Jaganmohan Reddy to be anointed CM has not died down. Though the Congress high command has for the time being managed to hush the voices seeking to install him as CM, there is widespread support for him. While the demands could be traced to the political landscape of Andhra Pradesh/Tamil Nadu peopled by sons, daughters, sons-in-law and nephews, it highlights a peculiar aspect of Indian democracy: the prevalence of dynasty. It's something that continues to stump most observers of Indian democracy. A glib answer to the pervasiveness of dynasty is to point to political families elsewhere: the Kennedys, the Bushes and the Clintons. Closer home political dynasties flourish in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. In India, we are faced with the contradiction where a deepening of democracy has been accompanied by a consistent decline in inner-party democracy. The current Lok Sabha is a good example of this disturbing trend. In a country where geriatrics have traditionally dominated politics, the youth component of the house has rightly been noted. But what's striking is that many of the young MPs belong to political dynasties. There are good reasons for the large number of MPs with the right family connections. One, the decay of party organisations and dwindling party members. This is starkly illustrated in the case of the Congress where a top-heavy and highly centralised leadership is in charge. Indira first began the process of systematic erosion of the authority of state units. This process has sometimes led to an annihilation of the party organisation as in states like West Bengal. In other places it has led to the rise of powerful regional bosses. Two, there are obvious incentives for parties to prefer candidates from established political families. In a situation where there is no inner-party democracy, it is convenient for parties to turn to established brands rather than take a risk with a newcomer. Three, with the kind of money needed to contest elections it's difficult for fresh candidates to raise funds to match incumbents or their family members. But that still doesn't answer why voters put their faith in dynasts. We can't take seriously the suggestion made by a columnist in these pages that voters are not rational. The 2009 National Election Survey reveals that when asked if it was okay for sons/daughters to contest from seats held by their parents, nearly 60 percent said it was undemocratic. One reason for voter confidence in dynasts could be the inability to look beyond clan and kinship networks. Some political families are former royals who still command respect and fealty. A more compelling motive could be the belief that dynasts are more efficient distributors of patronage than a greenhorn. Finally, in a perverse way political families might represent a safer bet to garner and allocate scarce resources since they've been doing it for generations and have a reputation at stake. The 'politics of inheritance' is not going to go away soon. But there are interesting things afoot within India's Grand Old Party initiated by none other than Rahul. He has worked hard at reviving the students' wing of his party. And there have been some success stories of young Congress members pulling off remarkable victories in the last election. This does not in any way amount to a rollback of dynastic politics. But at least there is a glimmer of inner-party democracy and infusion of fresh talent. A school for politicians won't solve the problem of dynasty. Things could change only if political parties are forced to become more democratic and there are drastic reforms in the way election campaigns are funded. The Times of India