Gandhi Urges India to Question Dynasties Like His as Vote Opens

Rahul Gandhi is trying to revive India’s Congress party, which brought his father, grandmother and great-grandfather to power, by rejecting family dynasties.

In the run-up to Indian elections that started last week, Gandhi toured the country advocating transparent party leadership elections and building its youth wing. He rebuffed calls to run for prime minister and said his mission was to democratize the ruling party, which hasn’t won a parliament majority on its own in 20 years.

“There’s a lot of institutional repair that has to be done,” Gandhi, 38, said in an interview. At the same time, “We have a prime minister” in Manmohan Singh, 76.

Regional parties representing ethnic and caste groups have peeled voters away from Congress, while many Indians regard the established parties as self-serving machines, said B.G. Verghese, an analyst with the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi. Gandhi’s party-building also may create a base for him to claim the office he says he doesn’t want.

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