The BJP leadership has been of a firm view that family succession should be an exception and not a norm.
The party has so far denied tickets to the kin of several senior leaders, who were in anticipation of handing over the baton to a family member.
Ananth Kumar passed away recently after which it was widely expected that Tejaswini will be the party candidate, but it didn’t happen. However, Maneka Gandhi, who will contest from Sultanpur, has swapped seats with son Varun Gandhi, the party nominee from Pilibhit.
A ‘no’ to the kin of of politicians being put up as “replacements” that keep constituencies within the family fold is a new norm the Modi-Shah leadership is seeking to impose in a bid to open avenues for new candidates on seats that have been political fiefs.
The issue of dynastic succession has been a key political plank of BJP with PM Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah concertedly questioning the dominance of the ‘Nehru-Gandhi’ dynasty in Congress since Independence.
In 2014, there was a perceptible unease about accommodating quite a few wards and other family members of senior leaders but many of them made it to electoral politics. However, only a few could get any additional assignment— be it administrative or organisational.
Hamirpur MP Anurag Thakur, son of former Himachal chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, was an exception as he was nominated as party chief whip in the Lok Sabha after Rakesh Singh was appointed chief of the Madhya Pradesh BJP last year.
Modi recently targeted Congress and regional parties over “dynastic politics”. In his blog post, Modi said one family’s desire for power cost the nation dearly and that people should remember this while casting their vote. “As you go to vote — remember the past and how one family’s desire for power cost the nation so greatly. If they could do it then, they can surely do it now,” Modi wrote urging people to ignore the family-dominated political parties.
Modi and Shah have repeatedly attacked the Gandhi family for perpetuating dynastic politics, besides regional forces like Samajwadi Party, DMK and TDP.
The party has this time fielded Ashok Yadav from Madhubani in place of his father Hukumdev Narain Yadav, who decided to hang his boots. But wards of several prominent politicians have been ignored or asked to desist from lobbying for nomination.
Recent nomination of Shah as party nominee from Gandhinagar quelled speculation about party veteran LK Advani being allowed to pass on the seat to any of his children -daughter Pratibha or son Jayant. Former Uttarakhand chief minister BC Khanduri, who has also been benched, failed in his bid to let son Manish take over the baton. Manish recently joined Congress which has fielded him.
Abhishek Bhargava, son of Madhya Pradesh leader of opposition Gopal Bhargava, who was initially seen as frontrunner as candidate from Damoh, Sagar or Khajuraho, withdrew from the race. “I don’t want to do politics with blot of dynasty politics on me,” he said.
BJP has fielded Pradeep Singh from Kairana, which the party lost to Samajwadi Party in the bypolls after the demise of Hukum Singh, whose daughter Mriganka had contested as party nominee last year.
Coinciding with BJP’s insistence on dynasty-free politics, dissident Congress leader Shehzad Poonawala has launched a twitter campaign with hasthtag “DynastyMuktBharat” targeting Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
BJP walks the no-dynasty talk, denies tickets to retirees’ kin – Times of India