Tuesday, 5 July, 2022
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Family or me? Modi’s dynasty diatribe has left these top politicians in a spot

CMs and ex-CMs from BJP, Congress may have to take a backseat to promote their children's political careers as both parties look to clamp down on tickets for kin.

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New Delhi: Blame it on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unrelenting attack on dynasty politics. Many veteran politicians, especially incumbent and former chief ministers, in both the Congress and the BJP are staring at a difficult choice: They must take a backseat if they want to promote their children’s political careers.

On the defensive, Rahul Gandhi told state Congress chiefs Saturday that in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, no tickets will be given to Rajya Sabha members, sitting MLAs and their family members. This could jeopardise the plans of at least two chief ministers — Ashok Gehlot from Rajasthan and Kamal Nath from Madhya Pradesh — and former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan.

Chavan, the Maharashtra Congress president, is learnt to have put forward the name of his wife and Bhokar MLA, Ameeta, as the party’s Lok Sabha candidate from Nanded, according to party leaders from the state. He would like to vacate this Lok Sabha seat for her and contest the assembly elections to be in the reckoning for the chief minister’s post if the Congress comes to power.

Gehlot’s son, Vaibhav, is in contention for the party ticket for Jodhpur Lok Sabha seat while Nath’s son, Nakul, is in the running for Chhindwara.

If Gandhi were to implement his plan, as laid out Saturday, the families of these top leaders from Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh could be left high and dry. They may, however, hope to benefit from a caveat, spelt out at the same meeting, that the final decision on this issue would be taken by the Congress president.

But if Gandhi makes exceptions in high-profile cases, the party will find it difficult to implement this grandiose plan in the case of others. And there are so many of them.

In the 2008 Karnataka elections, the party had denied a ticket to then general secretary Margaret Alva’s son, Nivedith, which provoked her into alleging that party tickets were being sold.

She had to resign from the party post although she was rehabilitated in a Raj Bhavan later. Her second son, Nikhil, works closely with Gandhi now.

Also read: BJP’s ticket distribution in MP clearly shows party also indulging in dynasty politics

Similar situation in the BJP

Gehlot’s and Nath’s predecessors in office — Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan — as also the former Chhattisgarh chief minister, Raman Singh, may be equally anxious about the political careers of their children.

Having made dynastic politics of the Congress a poll plank, Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah are known to have reservations against fielding more than one member of a family in elections. There were some exceptions in the past but BJP leaders say that they will be “stricter” this time.

After the BJP’s loss in three states in December, Shah brought these three former CMs to national politics by appointing them party vice-presidents, virtually a ceremonial post in terms of powers and functioning.

All three were elected MLAs but were denied the posts of the leader of opposition in the state assemblies by the party’s central leadership. They could hope to be rehabilitated as ministers in the next government if the BJP returns to power. For this to happen, they would like to contest Lok Sabha elections.

But, of these three, Raje’s son Dushyant Singh and Raman Singh’s son Abhishek are already MPs, while Chouhan’s son Kartikeya is expected to make his electoral debut in the coming general elections. The BJP high command is unlikely to field both parents and children in the same election, say party leaders.

After Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s entry in politics, Modi has got more ammunition to attack the Congress for pursuing dynastic politics. But it may turn out to be a double-edged sword.

Also read: Four reasons why the classier, smarter Gandhi has finally joined politics

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  1. Politics is the last refuge of a scroundrel. We will soon see sons of Congressmen joining the BJP and vice versa. Indians are more innovative in promoting their dynasties than any other national.

  2. I appeal to all political parties to provide 50% of seats to women, in elections and also in their party offices; next, every party should announce the names of those persons who had donated more than 1000 Rs, no party should give party tickets to the kith and kin of any other candidates or no two tickets from a family; they should implement Kamraj Plan not to give tickets to those who crossed 65 years of age (Kamraj limited it to 60 only) and asked the elder people to guide the youngsters in government from the party positions. The average age of the cabinet should not cross 45. No third term in any position, elevation after second term … inter-caste marriages should be encouraged and no party ticket to any member of a caster in a constituency for the third term.

  3. Dynasty as a point of attack does not really resonate with voters. Baramati is reserved for a Pawar in eternity. In fact, some would argue, it creates a long term bond. Quite different from the talk that upwards of eighty lamp posts elected in the last tsunami will be denied tickets this time round.

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