Relatively speaking, blood is thicker than water
By Abhinandan Mishra - BHOPAL
Published: 10th Nov 2013 09:53:48 AM
It’s family first in Madhya Pradesh. With both major players declaring their list of candidates, it’s very obvious that when it comes to protecting electoral turf, politicians from both BJP and Congress trust none other than their closest relatives.
Despite tall claims by every leader that only performance and hard work will be the criteria for getting tickets, the lists say a different story. Many of the names that figure on the lists also have famous surnames.
Take for instance Jaivardhan Singh, son of Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh, who surprised everyone by filing his nomination from Raghogarh even before his name was officially declared by the party. A Columbia University graduate, 28-year-old Jaivardhan has no political experience apart from what he has learnt from his “learned” father. But that was no hurdle to getting a nomination.
The grand old man of Madhya Pradesh Congress Sriniwas Tiwari has taken the relative theory a step further. The 89-year-old, who first became an MLA in 1956, has not only ensured a ticket for his son and ex-MP Sunderlal Tiwari, but his grandson Vivek Tiwari as well.
A ticket was also given to Arjun Verma, brother of Ujjain MP, Sajjan Singh Verma. Heena Kawre, daughter of former transport minister in Digvijay Singh’s cabinet Likhiram Kawre, who was killed by Naxalites in the late 1990s, is also getting a chance to contest. Other names adding weight to the list are Sachin Yadav, brother of former Union minister and MP Arun Yadav, Kamleshwar Patel, son of senior party leader Indrajit Patel and Bhuwneshwar Prasad Singh, the son-in-law of Arjun Singh.
However, Congress leaders defended the ticket allotment process by saying that only those who were in a position to win were being given a chance.
“You must also see those who have not been given tickets despite hectic lobbying by their relatives. The claims of senior leaders like Vijaylakshmi Sadho who was demanding a ticket for her brother Devendra, Premchand Guddu who wanted to field his son and Sajjan Singh Verma, who wanted a ticket for another brother, were ignored,” a party spokesperson said.
Meanwhile the BJP, which too had announced that tickets will only be given on merit, is fielding names who have been allowed to contest only because they are related to senior party leaders.
The biggest surprise has been Neena Verma, wife of party leader Vikram Verma. She had won the 2008 election, which was later annulled by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in August. Despite that, Vikram managed to secure a ticket for her.
Similarly, the candidature of former chief minister Kailash Joshi’s son Deepak, a sitting MLA from Hatpipaliya, was allowed despite vociferous protests against him by party workers. According to an internal survey conducted by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Deepak had not performed well in the last five years. Despite that, it only took an hour of silent protest from Kailash Joshi on the party office premises in Bhopal to secure a ticket for his son. Similar was the case with Surendra Patwa, nephew of former CM Sunderlal Patwa. Despite being seen as a weak wicket, he was allowed a party nomination. Rahul Lodhi, nephew of Uma Bharti, is also named in the list. His only credential apart from being related to Uma is that he is a formal member of the RSS.
Tribal leader Phaggan Singh Kulaste managed to secure a nomination for his brother despite the fact that he won the last elections by a wafer-thin margin. Another addition to the list is Vishwas Sarang, a sitting MLA from Narela in Bhopal. He is the son of senior leader Kailash Sarang and had just about managed to win in the last elections. Rajendra Pandey, son of former MP Laxminarayan Pandey, too got a ticket thanks to his father’s stature.