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Parivaars that contest together...


ADITI PRASAD | New Delhi, January 14, 2012 10:42
Tags : nepotism | bhai bhatijawad | rahul gandhi | assembly elections 2012 |

It’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black. I mean every time Rahul baba so much as sneezes with his face turned towards the Prime Minister’s office, the entire opposition catches a cold… a cold which gets cured only after at least a week of snide utterances, off and on record interviews and complaints about how the Nehru- Gandhi family is only interested in preserving their dynastic rule over Indian politics. But how different are the other guardians of our sovereign, secular, democratic republic?

One only has to seek a meaningful peek at the list of candidates announced so far by sundry political parties in the run up of 2012 assembly polls scheduled over the next couple of months to understand the level of bhai-bhatijawad that permeates almost every party in the election fray. Rahul Gandhi (at least now) can claim some credibility as a serious politician especially after his nocturnal visits and dinner photo ops with various Dalit families over the last several months. But look carefully at some of the other poll contestants of the Congress as well others like the BJP, SP and BSP and you realize that there’s hardly a better qualification to contest elections in India than to have well-placed relatives in politikdom.

Take Ramakant Yadav. BJP MP from Azamgarh, a place known for the use of muscle-men (bahubalis) and political debates over terrorism, Yadav has managed to score tickets left right and centre for his kith and kin. Yadav’s wife Ranjana, a college principal, is contesting from Nizamabad, while his son Arun Yadav is contesting from Jalalpur constituency. Birendra Yadav, who happens to be Ramakant’s nephew, is leading the race from Phulpur. And if all this was not enough, Ramakant also managed to score a ticket for close aide Shyam Sunder Chauhan who used to sing at his rallies once upon a time! It’s at exclamation mark moments like these that I feel I should have listened to my granny and perfect my musical notes.

After failing to secure his son’s ticket in 2009, senior BJP leader Lalji Tandon has managed to push his son Gopal Tandon in the limelight. He’s contesting from Lucknow North. The junior Tandon’s claim to fame? Well, he has been his dad’s poll manager for the last few years. That’s obviously experience enough to light his way into the finer intricacies of an active public life dedicated to a lifetime of serving people (sic!)

Mayawati’s BSP which has been too busy kicking out tainted ministers from its government in a bid to escape unscathed from the ‘corruption’ furor is obviously not as concerned with the ‘nepotism’ tag. State BSP chief Swami Prasad Maurya is fielding his son Utkarsh and daughter Sanghamitra from Raebareli and Etah districts respectively. No one seems to have a precise handle on their political experience. Not that it’s necessary if your dad’s the boss man. But I’m just saying...

After kicking up a row a few days ago over the Mayawati administration using state machinery for gathering ‘election intelligence’ to make changes in the list of selected candidates, BSP MP Jugal Kishore managed a ticket for his son from the Kasta assembly seat. His son Saurabh Kishore’s name was apparently also in the original poll list of ‘selected candidates’.

Ironically, even the tainted are getting a backdoor entry into the behenji’s arms albeit through the nepotism route. Two instances stand out for their bizarre blatancy. One, a BSP ticket for the wife of former health minister Anant Mishra who is also an accused in the NRHM scam (yeah, the same one for which Babu Singh Kushwaha was axed). And the other, a BSP ticket from Deoria for the wife of another NRHM-tainted party MLA Ram Prasad Jaiswal.

Congress party veterans who have perfected the art of helping their sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, brothers-in-law, aunties and uncles, to achieve their political ambitions over the last 65 years, also seem to be having a whale of a time in this latest electoral jamboree.

While Congress MP Kamal Kishore’s wife Punam is all set to pitch into the race from Balha assembly constituency, Congress MP Jagdambika Pal’s son Abhishek Pal has got the ticket from Basti Sadar. (PS: May I remind readers that this is the same Jagdambika Pal who had become the UP chief minister for a day and had sworn to never let his son enter politics after that red-in-the-face episode). Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma’s son Rakesh is contesting from Dariyabad in Barabanki after a murky run-in with Shiv Shankar Shukla, another Congress party leader aspirant for the same ticket. Shukla even lodged an FIR against Verma and his son with Barabanki police for allegedly thrashing him during a press conference in the district last November. 

Not to be left behind, the Samajwadi party candidates’ list boasts names of Mulayam's nephew Ankur Yadav and two other cousins. Urdu poet turned politician Nawazish Alam is contesting from Muzaffarnagar, and not only because he writes phenomenal verses. He also happens to be sitting SP MP Ameer Alam's son.

Former UP minister and sitting MP from Allahabad, Rewati Raman Singh, has secured a SP ticket for his son Ujjwal Singh from Karchana (Allahabad) – a seat from which Rewati Raman has won thrice in the past.
The list is endless. Former BJP MLC Prof Ramji Singh, who is now a member of the party’s national executive, managed to bag the ‘winnable’ Mau seat for the political debut of his son Arijit Singh; Union Law minister Salman Khurshid's wife Louise Khurshid is protecting her hubby’s turf as Congress candidate from Farrukhabad; State Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi organized a ticket for brother Shekhar Bahuguna.

There’s more. Former UP chief minister Ram Naresh Yadav's son Ajay Naresh Yadav also bagged a Congress ticket; State power minister Ramveer Upadhyay whose wife Seema is already an MP secured a BSP ticket for his brother Rameshwar from Dibai in Bulandshahar; BSP MPs from Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar managed tickets for their respective brothers; and the wife of SP MP from Shahajahanpur Mithlesh Kumar has also landed herself a ticket.

The situation in Punjab is even more glaring, where family feud is taking precedence over political rivalry in the VVVIP Lambi constituency. Three Badals are in the fray here. While the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal has once again fielded chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for this seat, the candidate for the People's Party of Punjab (PPP) is the CM’s younger brother (now estranged) Gurdas Badal. Congress has smartly added a third Badal to the contest with its own candidate Maheshinder Singh Badal, who is their first cousin.

Lambi aside, there are a slew of ‘relatives’ who have made their debut in the political arena this year. Primary among them being Raninder Singh, son of Congress party's state unit chief Captain Amarinder Singh, and Vikram Bajwa, Congress legislative party chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal’s son-in-law.

I confess that the names I have rattled off above do not even begin to comprise a comprehensive list of the near and extended families of sitting/ former MPs/ MLAs and party leaders in the 2012 poll fray. My apologies to the countless rajneeti stalwarts who believe in this desi version of showing love to their near and dear. There’s nothing wrong in it. No sir, there isn’t. India has had a penchant for dynastic rulers from times immemorial. The Maurya dynasty, Kushan dynasty, Gupta, Gazhni, Lodhi, Khilji, Tuglaq…

My point is if you amass hoards of wealth by lording it over a relatively poorer, gullible and unsuspecting janta, why would you not like to keep it in the family for generations to come? I mean, if it was okay for Samudragupta to succeed his father Chandragupta, then it’s equally okay for Ujjwal Singh to succeed his father Rewati Raman Singh. No?  

As Bollywood would say: A family which contests elections together, stays together! Now, that’s another exclamation mark moment. 

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog are that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Sunday Indian.)

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog are that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Sunday Indian)
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Posted By: biresh banerjee | Noidfa | January 14th 2012 | 13:01
DK Bose: Who the hell is the administrator here? I posted a comment, I read the entire piece, and he wants to overule my judgement. Pls share his contact details with me. Has he even read one blog till now on his site?
Posted By: dk bose | Chandigarh | January 14th 2012 | 13:01
nice to hear that the gandhi family leagcy is being extended to other "political parivars" as well! papa papa, vote for mamma please :)

Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017