New Delhi: Ticket distribution is yet to begin for the Bihar assembly elections but a significant trend is beginning to emerge — ticket seekers are mostly related to ticket distributors.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s sons — Tejashwi and Tej Pratap — will not be the only dynasts in the Bihar poll fray as at least 40 leaders, from the RJD, BJP, JD(U) and Congress, are seeking tickets for their relatives. A majority of them want their sons to contest this time around.
In at least three of the parties, the request has come from the very top — JD(U) state president Vasishtha Narayan Singh, his RJD counterpart Jagdanand Singh and the Congress’ Bihar chief Madan Mohan Jha are seeking tickets for their sons.
Narayan Singh wants a ticket for his son, Sonu Singh, from the Ara constituency.
State RJD chief Jagdanand Singh wants a ticket for his son, Sudhakar Singh, from the Ramgarh constituency while Jha is seeking a ticket for his son, Madhav Jha, from Benipur constituency in Darbhanga district.
The clamour to have children in the assembly isn’t limited to just the three state chiefs — from MPs, MLAs to ministers, a number of leaders are seeking tickets for their relatives.
BJP’s probable dynasts
Union Minister Ashwini Choubey is seeking a ticket for his son Arjit Shashwat, who lost the 2015 assembly elections from Bhagalpur.
Sikkim Governor Ganga Prasad’s son, Sanjiv Chaurasia, who is the sitting MLA from Digha assembly constituency wants to retain the ticket here.
Former minister and MP from Pataliputra, Ram Kripal Yadav, is seeking ticket for his son Abhimanyu, while Rajya Sabha MP, Gopal Narayan Singh, and former BJP Minister, Avdesh Narayan Singh, also want their sons to contest this time around.
The BJP’s Siwan MLA, Vyas Deo Prasad, is also seeking a ticket for his son, which is the case with the party’s Sasaram MP Chhedi Paswan.
Sanjiv Chaurasia, however, told ThePrint that being a dynast doesn’t necessarily mean poll victory.
“Only those who are active in politics will get a ticket,” Chaurasia said. “If you get a ticket, it is not necessary that you will make a mark. Many leaders’ sons have come and disappeared; it all depends on your work, dedication. It is a 24-hour job. People’s aspirations are high these days and they want a leader who is constantly present in their constituency.”
No better in RJD
In the RJD, besides Tejaswi and Tej Pratap, there are several leaders who are seeking tickets for their wards.
Senior leader Shivanand Tiwari’s son, Rahul Tiwari, wants the ticket from Shahpur, where he is the sitting MLA. Former four-time MP from Maharajganj, Prabhunath Singh, is seeking a ticket for his daughter Madhu Singh from the Barh assembly seat.
Former minister Kanti Singh wants a ticket for his son Prince Kumar
Rahul Tiwari, the RJD MLA and son of Shivanand Tiwari, told ThePrint that a distinction should be made with regard to dynasts in politics.
“There are two type of leaders’ kin — those that are active and nurturing politics in their areas for a long time. If they fight or seek tickets, there is no harm in it,” he said. “Sometimes fathers pass on the baton to sons or daughters; it should not be criticised. The problem is when the son is not in politics altogether and he gets a ticket, then people should question that decision.”
JD(U) and Congress not far behind
In the JD(U), beside state president Vasishtha Narayan, former MP Meena Singh and Radha Charan Sah, who recently defected from the RJD, are eyeing tickets for their sons.
Former MP and gangster Suraj Bhan Singh is seeking a ticket for his younger brother Chandan Singh. Suraj’s wife, Veena Singh, is the Munger MP on a LJP ticket.
Harinarayan Singh, the JD(U) MLA from Harnaut constituency in Nalanda, now wants his seat to go to his son as he is too old to contest.
Other dynasts include Nikhil Mandal, who is all set to contest for the first time from Madhepura constituency. He is the grandson of B.P. Mandal, the former Bihar chief minister who authored the Mandal Commission report.
Jitan Ram Manjhi, the former chief minister who recently joined the NDA, is seeking a ticket for his son-in-law Devendra Manjhi. His son, Santosh Suman, is already an MLC.
“There is no harm if leaders’ sons enter politics,” Suman said. “What will they do if their families are political and their generation has invested in politics? It is not just a Bihar phenomenon. In every part of India, if such youngsters are interested in politics, they should enter, there is no harm.”
In the Congress, besides state president Madan Mohan Jha, senior leader Ashok Kumar is eyeing a seat for his son.
After the death of former MLA Ramdev Rai, his son Shiv Prakash is a claimant for the ticket. Former state Congress president Sadanand Singh is seeking a ticket for his son from Kahalgaon.
“It will be decided by the election committee on the winnability of candidates,” Madan Mohan Jha told ThePrint. “If anyone wants to enter politics what is the harm in it.”