Indian voters are largely comfortable with electing dynastic candidates despite dire predictions in upcoming polls 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 Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after a decade of rule by Gandhi's Congress Party.
Gandhi, 43, whose father, grandmother and great-grandfather were all prime ministers, is the candidate from the center-left Congress Party in elections starting on April 7, going against the BJP's Narendra Modi, the son of a tea-stall owner.
But the poll did not support suggestions that Indians have rejected hereditary candidates. Instead, 46 per cent of voters said they preferred politicians who hail 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.