By L S Herdenia
BHOPAL: The BJP often accuses the Congress of dynastic politics and the party chief Amit Shah has said more than once that the Congress is a family affair. But in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP itself is the worst victim of this malady. Defending the trend of veteran leaders promoting their sons and daughters in politics, leader of opposition in the MP Vidhan Sabha Gopal Bhargava advanced a rather strange argument. He said, “What should the son and daughters of politicians do? Should they become beggars?” Bhargava is lobbying for his son’s candidature from one of the Lok Sabha seats.
The list of top BJP leaders seeking tickets for their family members include former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, whose wife Sadhna Singh is said to be keen to contest from Vidisha Lok Sabha seat. Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar is pitching for his elder son Devendra and national vice-president Prabhat Jha wants a ticket for his son Tushmul. Former minister Narottam Mishra is batting for his son Sukarna, who is a member of the party’s youth wing.
Former state finance minister Jayant Malaiya’s son Sidhhartha has already entered active politics and is busy building a base for himself in the Sagar region.
Dynasty politics had turned out to one of the stumbling blocks for the BJP in the 2019 Assembly polls. The clamour for tickets for kin, triggered turmoil, the party could have done without in the run-up to the hotly-contested elections, which, it eventually lost. At least five candidates, who got tickets courtesy of their kin, were defeated.
With more that prestige at stake for the Lok Sabha elections, ‘parivaarvad’ was expected to take the back seat. But at a meeting convened at the BJP headquarters here on Friday to discuss poll strategy, leader after leader justified their demand for tickets for their sons or daughters. Bhargava said, “My son Abhishek is assisting me for the past 14 years. He is general secretary of the party’s state youth wing and has every right to demand ticket for himself.” After a pause, sources said, he added, “But I believe one should not be denied or given a ticket just because he happens to be the son or daughter of a politician. If he is eligible, he must be given the ticket. But it is up to the party and whatever decision is taken, will be accepted.”
He then went on to justify his demand, “When son of an officer, joins the administrative services, son of a trader continues his business and son of a farmer does farming then what should the son of a politician do after spending 20 years in social service? Become a beggar?”
Joining the chorus, Gaurishankar Bisen said that the party had chosen his daughter Mausam as a probable for Balaghat Lok Sabha seat in the 2014 polls. However, later, it was decided to field Bodhsingh Bhagat.
“The leadership decides who will contest. Mausam is an engineer and a topper from Nagpur University. She is also a topper from the Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya. She has staked her claim for the ticket. The party will decide and the decision will be accepted,” he told reporters at the party office.
Among those whose children are already in politics are BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who vacated his seat for his son Akash in 2018. Akash was elected from Indore-3 constituency and Vijayvargiya is said to be in the fray for ticket from the Indore Lok Sabha seat.
Vikram Singh, son of former minister Harsh Singh won from Rampur Baghelan constituency in the Assembly polls and former chief minister Babulal Gaur’s daughter-in-law won from Govindpura. Rajesh Prajapati, son of former MLA RD Prajapati is an MLA from Chandla.
The BJP had adopted a unique procedure for the selection of candidates. The party has assigned the task to individual leaders. Ex-chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, state president Rakesh Singh, organisational general secretary Suhas Bhagat, leader of opposition Gopal Bhargava, national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and national general secretary Prabhat Jha have been assigned different Lok Sabha constituencies.
The leaders, instead of meeting at one place, will conduct review meetings at five different places to list the probable candidates.
Reports indicate that the Congress has nearly finalised candidates for 15 Lok Sabha seats in the state. They include Arun Yadav (Khandwa), Ajay Singh (Sidhi), Siddhartha Tiwari (Rewa), chief minister Kamal Nath’s son Nakul Nath (Chinndwara), Prahlad Tipaniya (Dewas), Ram Niwas Rawat (Morena), Kavita Singh (Khajuraho), Prabhu Singh Thakur (Sagar), Madhu Bhaghat (Balaghat), Ramu Tekam (Betul), Pramila Singh (Shahdol), Kantilal Bhuria (Jhabua) and Meenakshi Natarajan (Mandsaur).
A joint meeting of the heads of police of the neighbouring states was held in Bhopal on Friday, They included DGPs of MP, UP, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. The conference discussed measures to ensure orderly and peaceful voting in the General Elections. It was agreed to constitute a coordination cell to exchange information between the states. It was also agreed to take a series to ensure orderly polling in naxal-affected areas.
The murder of a political worker, who had recently joined the Congress after severing his ties with the BJP, has caused ripples in the political circles of the state. The murder took place in the Damoh district of the state. Police have booked the husband and some relatives of BSP MLA from Patharia, Rama Bai, for the murder.
Devendra Singh Chourasia’s switching to Congress had angered a section of the BSP rank and file but the immediate provocation for the murder seems to be a dispute related to the district panchayat elections. Police say Chourasia’s daughter-in-law is one of the panchayat members. Ram Bai has denied all the allegations. “False cases have been foisted on my husband and my brother-in-law to malign my political image because of my popularity,” she said. She was vice-president of the panchayat before being elected as an MLA in the 2019 polls. (IPA Service)