Congress is gleefully lapping up the opportunity to poke fun at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for indulging in dynastic politics as the latter has distributed tickets to kith and kin of many party leaders for the upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly Election on Wednesday. For long the Congress has been at the receiving end on this account and it's now Congress' chance to turn the tables. As many as 42 candidates in the BJP's list for the 230 seats are either sons, daughters or relatives of party leaders. The Congress, by comparison, has a little over a dozen.
Leaders from both the BJP and Congress whose children or kin have got tickets range from a former prime minister to former chief ministers and from the present Union ministers to former legislators.
In this election, the BJP has given tickets to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s nephew Anup Mishra from Bhitarwar, former chief ministers -- Sunderlal Patwa’s nephew Surendra Patwa from Bhojpur, Kailash Joshi’s son Deepak Joshi from Haat Pipaliya, Virendra Kumar Saklecha’s son Om Prakash Saklecha and Babulal Gaur’s daughter-in-law Krishna Gaur from Govindpura in Bhopal. While Anup Mishra had been a minister in Madhya Pradesh in the past, Patwa and Joshi are currently holding portfolios in Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s cabinet.
Krishna Gaur is also a former mayor. The BJP leadership gave a ticket to her after Babulal Gaur decided to contest as an independent candidate from Govindpura seat from where had been elected 10 times in a row. Due to age limitation factor (up to 75 years), he wasn’t given a ticket.
BJP stalwart Rajmata of Gwalior Vijaya Raje Scindia’s daughter Yashodhara Raje has got a ticket to contest from Shivpuri. She’s also a serving minister in the state.
Two former speakers of Madhya Pradesh Assembly – Ishwardas Rohani’s son Ashok Lohani and Brajmohan Mishra’s daughter Archana Chitnis — have been given tickets from Jabalpur Cantonment and Burhanpur respectively. Chitnis also served as a minister.
Besides this, relatives of present and former Union ministers have got tickets for their children or siblings -- like Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot and Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Uma Bharti have got tickets for their son Jitendra Gehlot (Aalot) and nephew Rahul Lodhi (Khargapur) respectively. Former Union ministers Vikram Verma and Prahlad Patel have got tickets for their wife Neeta Verma (Dhar) and brother Jalan Singh Patel (Narsighpur).
The rest 30 candidates are either sons, daughters or siblings of ex-ministers of Madhya Pradesh and present and former Members of Parliament and MLAs, including BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya’s son Akash Vijayvargiya.
In comparison to the BJP, this time Congress has lesser numbers when it comes to distributing tickets to family members of party leaders.
Former chief minister Digvijaya Singh has secured tickets for his son Jaivardhan Singh, who’s a sitting MLA from Raghogarh; brother Lakshman Singh — a former MP and MLA and nephew Priyavrat Singh.
Former chief minister Arjun Singh's son Ajay Singh is contesting from Churhat seat.
Congress has given tickets to children and relatives of former ministers in the Digvijaya Singh cabinet-- Hemant Katare, son of Satyadev Katare; Om Prakash Raghuvanshi, son of Hajarilal Raghuvanshi; Umang, nephew of Jamuna Devi; Kamleshwar Patel, son of Indrajit Patel and KK Kalukheda, brother of Mahendra Singh Kalukheda.
Former Union minister in the UPA government, Kantilal Bhuria got tickets for his son Vikrant Bhuria, a physician by profession and niece Kalavati Bhuria to contest from Jhabua and Jobat respectively.
The party has also given tickets to Alok Chaturvedi, brother of Rajya Sabha member from Khajuraho, Satyavrat Chaturvedi, who has been expelled from Congress on 19 November for six years.
Sons of former deputy chief minister in the Digvijaya Singh government the late Subhash Yadav’s sons – Arun Yadav and Sachin Yadav have got tickets to contest from Budhni and Kasrawad respectively.
Former Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee president and ex-Union minister in the UPA, Arun Yadav will contest against Chief Minister Chouhan, considered as the latter’s home turf.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi in March during the AICC plenary session had said, “We will have to change the organisation. There are workers sitting at the back. They have the energy to change the country. But there is a wall between them and the leaders. My first task is to break that wall… give them preference while distributing tickets to contest elections.”
But in reality, things are different to the claims made by leaders.
Both the BJP and the Congress have claimed that tickets have been given to candidates based on ‘winnability’ factor.
“Earlier also both Congress and BJP had given tickets to its own people like sons, daughters or close relatives. In the last election, BJP gave around 20 tickets; but in this election, it’s all-time high,” remarked Bhopal-based political commentator Girija Shankar.
“This Assembly election is the toughest for the BJP in last 15 years, whereas it’s crucial for the Congress party,” Shankar said.
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Updated Date: Nov 27, 2018 09:23:00 IST