EVER since the Shiv Sena’s inception in 1966, its name hasbeensynonymouswiththeThackerays.However,adecade afterthe death of its founder and tallest leaderBalThackeray, winds of change have swept the once-powerful family to the sidelines. The Thackerays had managed to retain their hold despite the 2005 exit of former Maharashtra CM Narayan Rane andBalasaheb’s nephew RajThackeray, but the recent revolt by Eknath Shinde — which led to his elevation as CM — seems to have caused irreparable damage to the dynasty. Shinde has claimed that the rebellion was a fallout of the ‘unfair treatment’ meted out to him, a poor reflection on the leadership of ousted CM Uddhav Thackeray. The latter, Bal Thackeray’s youngest son, has accused the BJP of plotting to finish off his party, but he needs to delve into his own lapses that Shinde capitalised on to win over most of the Sena MLAs. Dynas ti c pol iti c s , termed by PM Modi as a threat to democracy, is in decline across the country. Two grand old parties, the Congress and the ShiromaniAkali Dal, both ruled by families, find themselves at the crossroads after a series of electoral losses.Arare exception is theBiju Janata Dal, whose current chief, five-time Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, has proved to be a brilliant administrator and a worthy legatee of his father, Biju Patnaik. Back in the late 1980s, it was MGR’s political heir J Jayalalithaa who had eclipsed his widow Janaki in the fiercely fought battle for succession in Tamil Nadu. Even as Uddhav struggles to keep the Thackerays politically relevant, the message to all dynasty-centric parties is loud and clear: reinvent yourselves to regain the trust of the masses.Theirfamily fixationhasgiventheBJPenoughammunition to accuse them of depriving commoners of opportunitiestooccupytopposts.Thenominationoftribal leaderDroupadi Murmu as the presidential candidate is in sync with the BJP’s policy of rewarding those who have risen through the ranks. At the end of the day, it’s the track record that should invariably count, not the DNA or a sense of entitlement.