The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is expected to announce the first list of its candidates for Lok Sabha on February 27 is in a fix over demands by senior leaders in Madhya Pradesh for tickets to their relatives. The other issue bugging it is the unpopularity of half a dozen sitting MPs.
The party had won 16 out of 29 seats in 2009. Subsequently a comprehensive victory over the Congress in the December assembly elections aroused its expectations. Now some leaders like former chief minister Uma Bharti claim the party would settle for nothing less than a clean sweep. Most pre-poll surveys so far have suggested rich gains for the party. The BJP’s best performance was in 2004 when the state sent 26 members to the Lok Sabha.
Given its stellar performance in a large number of Assembly segments in the constituencies of the 11 sitting Congress MPs, the party’s expectations are not misplaced.
Even as it keeps harping on the Congress’s dynastic politics the BJP is battling with its own share of nepotism with nine of the ministers pestering the leadership to nominate their close relatives. This would amount to shrinking the definition of ‘Parivar’.
During the four-day convention of the RSS some ministers have tried to lobby for their relatives. Murmurs of protests are also audible. A senior leader said the ministers and other leaders should now look beyond personal gains or the party will have to pay for their greed.
While Finance Minister Jayant Maliyya is seeking the nomination for is wife Sudha from Damoh , Transport Minister Bhupendra Singh considers it his right to get a ticket for wife Saroj from Sagar. Singh had vacated the Sagar Lok Sabha seat to contest the assembly elections. Revenue Minister Rampal Singh’s wife Shashi Prabha wants to join the fray from Hoshangabad. Shashi Prabha was a legislator earlier. The Congress MP from Hoshangabad had left the party in November to join the BJP and is obviously a contender for the seat. Agriculture Minister Garushanker Bisen is also keen to see his wife Rekha contesting the poll from Balaghat.
Panchayat and Rural Development Minister Gopal Bhargava is lobbying for son Abhishek for Damoh a seat already coveted by Malaiyya’s wife. Labour Minister Antar Singh Arya has assured the party a thumping win if his son Vikas is fielded from Khargone.
Industries Minister Yashodhararaje who had wanted her son Akshay to contest the assembly elections from Gwalior was asked to quit the Lok Sabha and stand for Assembly from Shivpuri. She won and got into the ministry. Now she believes the party owes a ticket to her son.
Food and Civil Supplies Minister Vijay Shah’s brother Ajay is an applicant for Betul Lok Sabha seat with Vijay’s support. The Minister’s other brother Sanjay was legislator from Timarni and wife Bhavna is the mayor of Khandwa so it is all in the family.
Bhopal Krishna Gaur is being projected for the Capital’s Lok Sabha seat represented by former chief minister Kailash Joshi. At 85 Joshi is seen as too old to contest. Considering that an older L K Advani is being considered for a ticket Joshi might still be in the race. Krishna is the daughter in law of home minister Babulal Gaur.
After 11 ministers lost the elections for the state assembly the party decided to take a fresh look at the prospects of the incumbents whose chances are suspect. Among them are Ashok Argal from Bhind, Makhan Singh from Khargone, Govind Mishra from Sidhi, Jitendra Bundela from Khajuraho, Shivraj Lodhi from Damoh and Jyoti Dhurvey from Betul. The party wants to introduce younger candidates in these constituencies. Another member Ganesh Singh is expected to be shifted from Satna to Rewa or Sidhi according to reports.
The party is still assessing the prospects of younger candidates. Aspirants are making a beeline to the houses of Sushma Swaraj the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and the general secretary in-charge of the state Ananthkumar. Swaraj represents the Vidisha seat in Lok Sabha from the state and is expected to have considerable say in the selection.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan who now enjoys considerable trust of the central leadership despite not being a member of the central parliamentary board is likely to call the shots in the selection. There are reports of some senior ministers in the state being fielded for Lok Sabha.
The other factor affecting the party’s preparation for the General Elections is a perception of growing corruption in the state with scandals such as professional Examination Board scalding the ruling party’s image.
Updated Date: Feb 24, 2014 08:36:05 IST