Dynasty politics dominate BJP's agenda for Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls
Dynasty politics, which has been the BJP's pet theme against the Congress and regional parties for decades, seems to be dominating its selection of candidates for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections.
The BJP, which has fielded candidates for all the 230 Assembly constituencies, has shown its confidence in the sons or relatives of senior party leaders as part of its strategy to overcome 15 years of anti-incumbency.
As per an analysis of the list of candidates issued in four instalments, the party has given tickets to over 40 such candidates who are either sons, daughters, wives and relatives of former MPs, MLAs or senior party functionaries.
The list includes the names of the kin of big guns like BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and former Chief Minister Babulal Gaur.
Vijayvargiya's son Akash Vijayvargiya has been fielded from Indore-3 Assembly constituency. Vijayvargiya, who has been representing Mhow in the state Assembly, is a close confidant of BJP chief Amit Shah and has held several positions in the state government and party.
Gaur, who was reluctant to contest again in this Assembly polls, has been placated by the party by giving a ticket to his daughter-in-law Krishna Gaur. She is a former mayor of Bhopal. Gaur has been representing Govindpura Assembly constituency since 1980 and has won the seat for a record eight times consecutively.
Besides these big guns, the party has obliged many senior leaders by giving tickets to their kin.
Forest Minister Gauri Shankar Shejwar's son Mudit has been fielded from Sanchi Assembly Constituency. Shejwar is among the tallest leaders of the BJP. He has been elected MLA for seven times from the Sanchi Assembly seat in Raisen district.
Sudhir Yadav, son of Sagar MP Laxmi Narayan Yadav, has been fielded from Surkhi while the sitting MLA from Chandla R. D. Prajapati has been replaced by his son Rajesh Prajapati. Harsh Singh, a minister in the state government has been denied a ticket and has been replaced by his son Vikram Singh from Rampur Baghelan.
Senior BJP leader and former Speaker Ishwar Das Rohani's son, Ashok Rohani has been given the ticket from Jabalpur Cantt. Minister Vijay Shah's brother Sanjay Shah will be contesting from Timarni.
The party has fielded former MP Laxminarayan Pandey's son, Rajendra Pandey from Jawra. Former minister Laxmikant Sharma's brother Umakant Sharma is contesting from Sironj. The party has fielded former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's nephew Anoop Mishra from Bhitarwar. He is an MP from Morena.
The list is long as there are many other sons and relatives of senior party leaders who have got tickets to contest this year's Assembly polls. The names include Harbansh Rathore, son of former minister and sitting MLA Harnam Singh Rathore from Banda, Shivnarayan Singh, son of MP Gyan Singh, Mahendra Singh Chouhan, son of former MLA Kedar Singh Chouhan and Manju Dadu, daughter of former MLA Rajendra Dadu.
The party has also repeated many candidates who are the relatives of senior party leaders and are now established names in state politics.
They include minister Yashodhara Raje, daughter of Vijaya Raje Scindia, minister Vishwas Sarang, son of former MP Kailash Sarang. Likewise, Dipak Joshi is the son of former Chief Minister Kailash Joshi, Surendra Patwa is the son of another former CM Sunderlal Patwa.
Neena Verma, wife of former union minister Vikram Verma has again been fielded from Dhar Assembly constituency. Former Chief Minister Virendra Kumar Sakhlecha's son Om Prakash Sakhlecha will be contesting for a fourth consecutive term from Jawad.
Former Union Minister Faggan Singh Kulaste's brother has been given the ticket to contest from Niwas. He will be seeking his fourth consecutive term. Former Speaker Brijmohan Mishra's daughter Archana Chitnis is a well-known face of the party in the state. She has been fielded from Burhanpur for the third consecutive term.
The BJP, which every now and then attacks Congress President Rahul Gandhi and accuses him of practising dynasty politics, has several dynasties flourishing in various states.
The names include Pankaja Munde and Preetam Munde, daughters of the late Gopinath Munde from Maharashtra. Poonam Mahajan, daughter of Pramod Mahajan, is a Lok Sabha MP from Mumbai North-Central.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje's son Dushyant Singh and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh's son Abhishek Singh is Lok Sabha MPs.
Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal's son, Anurag Thakur, is the Lok Sabha member from Hamirpur. Maneka Gandhi is a union minister while her son Varun Gandhi is an MP from Sultanpur in UP.
Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh's son, Rajveer Singh is an MP from Etah while former Delhi Chief Minister Late Sahib Singh Verma's son, Parvesh Verma is an MP from Delhi.
Former Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa's son Raghavendra is an MP from Shimoga in Karnataka. He recently won the by-poll to the parliamentary constituency.
(With inputs from agencies.)