Chronicle Reporter, Bhopal, As the election date is drawing closer, the leaders of both Congress and BJP are becoming more active for the sake of thicket. In this connection many leaders are projecting their son, daughter, wife and brother as winnable candidates and trying to get ticket for them. Both Congress and BJP leaders want tickets for their kin.
Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, political heirs are emerging from nowhere in Madhya Pradesh, where the Congress tasted power last year after 15 years in exile. So it is only natural that the Congress heavyweights consider launching the political career of their kith and kin from their bastions.The idea is to safeguard political turfs and family bastions. This ensures that the party candidate wins and political lineage is intact.
Two prominent Congress leaders in Madhya Pradesh—Chief Minister Kamal Nath and Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was also a strong contender for the CM’s post—are reportedly keen on making their kin test the political waters.
After being sworn in as chief minister, Kamal Nath will have to get elected to the Assembly. Jyotiraditya, son of former Congress stalwart Madhavrao Scindia, has been made the Congress in-charge of Western Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha polls.
Jyotiraditya will have to drive the electoral fortunes of 39 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats for the Congress in Uttar Pradesh. Jyotiraditya would have to dedicate more time and resources in Uttar Pradesh rather than his home state of Madhya Pradesh.
Effectively, political wisdom demands Jyotiraditya refrain from contesting the Lok Sabha polls this time. But as it is his family pocket borough, Jyotiraditya cannot just leave Guna constituency to all and sundry—Guna is to the Scindia family what Amethi and Rae Bareli are to the Gandhis.
Political lineage of Gwalior royals
The political lineage of the Gwalior royals is the stuff of folklore in Guna. The constituency falls in Gwalior region and it has been a Scindia family bastion, which the Congress has been retaining since 1999. Jyotiraditya’s grandmother, Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia, and Madhavrao had represented the constituency in the past.
Jyotiraditya himself was just one of the two Congress candidates who survived the Modi wave to emerge victorious from the state in 2014, with a margin of over 1.2 lakh votes. Jyotiraditya’s wife, Priyadarshini Raje Scindia, is tipped to contest from Guna, which has eight assembly constituencies.
Priyadarshini, who hails from the erstwhile Gaekwad royal family of Baroda, had been a voter in Delhi earlier. But a year ahead of the assembly elections, she enrolled as a voter from Shivpuri, a family bastion and one of the eight assembly constituencies in the Guna Lok Sabha seat.
Priyadarshini, an alumna of Sophia College, Mumbai, has already kick-start her political campaign from February 18. It is only natural that she has started her campaign, albeit unofficially, from Shivpuri, where she addressed meetings of women block-level Congress workers, apart from addressing two public meetings.The Maharani Sahiba spent one day each in all assembly constituencies in the Guna Lok Sabha seat.
As per the Election Commission guidelines, a candidate need not be a registered voter in the particular assembly segment or parliamentary seat, but most contestants flaunt this as a link to the voters.
However, you can’t be a voter in two constituencies.Priyadarshini featured in a prominent fashion and lifestyle magazine’s list of 50 most beautiful women in the country a few years ago.
During the previous elections, Priyadarshini had addressed many rallies and street-corner meetings.
So far, the Congress leadership has not announced Priyadarshini will contest from the seat. But MPCC general secretary Yogendra Lumba tabled a resolution in this regard at a Congress meeting in Guna and it received unanimous support.
“As Jyotiraditya Scindia has been placed in charge of western Uttar Pradesh, we feel Maharaniji can immensely contribute to the party. So, a resolution was adopted unanimously and has been sent to the central leadership,” Lumba told mediapersons.
No one in the Congress has come out against demands for Priyadarshini’s candidature.
“If the Congress party leaders and workers of the Guna parliamentary seat feel that Priyadarshini should contest in the elections, this will strengthen the party. Her entry will strengthen the social service work and welfare activities,” state Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi said.
But it is also a fact that Priyadarshini is the Congress’s best bet if her husband Jyotiraditya is not contesting. The royals of the erstwhile Gwalior kingdom, one of the richest of the more than 500 princely states that became part of India after British rule ended in 1947, enjoy immense clout here.
Guna Lok Sabha seat comprises eight assembly segments, with four each in Shivpuri and Guna districts. In the assembly elections last year, the Congress won five assembly segments in the Guna seat —three in Guna and two in Shivpuri.The local Sangh Parivar leadership does not seem to have an answer to who its candidate will be. Now you know what Guna has in store.
Another ‘Kamal’ To bloom In Chhindwara
Chief Minister Kamal Nath has been the MP from Chhindwara for nine terms. Now, after taking over as the Madhya Pradesh chief minister, Kamal Nath will have to vacate the seat and get elected to the state assembly.
Recently when he visited the constituency for the first time after taking over as chief minister, Kamal had his eldest son by his side in all three public functions he attended.
A final decision and official communication in this regard will come later. “Nakul Nath has always worked in Chhindwara with his father when he contested from the Lok Sabha seat. The local Congress leaders want and have demanded that he contest the seat,” Rajeev Singh, MPCC general secretary in charge of administration, said.
The seat has been represented by 72-year-old Kamal for nine times since 1980, when former prime minister Indira Gandhi had personally accompanied him to file his nomination papers. Gandhi had then described him as her “third son”.
Chhindwara, the Lok Sabha bastion of the Madhya Pradesh chief minister, is part of the key Mahakaushal region. The region has voted differently when it comes to Lok Sabha and assembly polls.
For instance, the Congress was able to wrest only three out of the seven seats in Chhindwara district in the 2013 Assembly elections in the state. However, six months later, Kamal went on to win the Lok Sabha seat for the ninth time, surviving the Narendra Modi wave, which had swept the Hindi heartland.
The seat has seven assembly segments—Junnardeo, Amarwara, Chourai, Sausar, Chhindwara, Parasia and Pandhurna. Four are reserved for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, which leaves Kamal with three constituencies to contest—Chhindwara, Sausar and Chourai.
In the recently held assembly elections, the Congress won all the seven assembly segments. Kamal Nath had indicated that he will contest the by-election from a constituency in the district where the Congress candidate wins with a maximum number of votes.
“I am thinking to contest election either from Sausar or from Chhindwara after discussing with local people,” Kamal told this correspondent last week.
This is not the first time that a chief minister’s son is joining the political fray in Madhya Pradesh. Sons of two previous Congress chief ministers are into active politics now. State minister Jaivardhan Singh is the son of former chief minister Digvijaya Singh.
Former legislator Ajay Singh ‘Rahul Bhaiyaa’ is the son of Arjun Singh. MP’s first chief minister was Ravishankar Shukla, whose elder son, Shyama Charan Shukla, also became the chief minister. Another son of Ravishankar, Vidya Charan Shukla, was a Union minister.
It seems, the central Indian state is a fertile breeding ground for political dynasties that have a stranglehold over assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies.
Mausam winnable candidate: Bisen
Former agriculture minister Gaurishankar Bisen has been lobbying for his daughter Mausam Bisen. He said Mausam is winnable candidate. He said he wants ticket for her from Balaghat constituency. Bisen said in the last election also Mausam had extended her challenge but finally ticket was given to Bodhsingh.
Will they beg: Gopal Bhargava
Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava, who has been seeking ticket for his son Abhishek Bhargava, said that if the leader’s sons will not contest election then what will they do. Will they beg, he asked. He said a businessman’s son becomes a businessman and a farmer’s son does the farming. Then what should a politician’s son do. He said his son is in the active politics for the last 15 years and so he has staked claim.
Nothing wrong in seeking ticket for kin: NK Singh
Senior scribe NK Singh said it is proper for the political leaders to seek ticket for their sons provided they are winnable candidates. He said only those having people’s support win in an election. He said dynastic rule continues in India.