Soon after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominated Akash Vijayvargiya from Indore-3 Assembly seat, his father and party’s national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya profusely thanked BJP for giving “blessings & love” to his “suputra (virtuous son)”.
Senior Vijayvargiya, who has held several positions in the state government, is more involved in national politics since the saffron party has credited him for party’s victory in Haryana. A close confidant of BJP Chief Amit Shah, he wrote on Twitter: “By giving ticket to my virtuous son, immortal, Akash Vijayvargiya from Indore-3 Assembly seat, the mother-like BJP has bestowed (upon us) tremendous love and blessings.”
Twitter users, however, were quick in calling out the hypocrisy on which every now and then his party attacks Congress president Rahul Gandhi, accusing him of practising dynasty politics. He was reminded of his leader Narendra Modi’s past election-eve speeches in which he would attack other political parties, urging voters to reject Maa-Beta (Congress) Ki Sarkar, be rid of the Baap-Beta (Abdullah family) Ki Sarkar and Baap-Beti (Mufti family) Ki Sarkar in Jammu and Kashmir.
A few were quick in invoking Prime Minister Modi’s favourite punch line: “Hypocrisy ki bhi seema hoti hai (Even hypocrisy has some limits) !”
Nevertheless, an analysis of the list of BJP candidates issued in four installments shows that 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 in Madhya Pradesh.
Apart from junior Vijayvargiya, the list of BJP nominees includes the names of many other kin of the big guns like former Chief Minister Babulal Gaur. Reluctant to contest again in this assembly polls, Gaur—who has been representing Govindpura Assembly constituency since 1980 and has won the seat for a record eight times consecutively—has been placated by the party by giving a ticket to his daughter-in-law Krishna Gaur. She is a former mayor of Bhopal.
Similarly, Forest Minister Gauri Shankar Shejwar's son Mudit has been fielded from Sanchi Assembly Constituency. Shejwar is among the tallest leaders of the state 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son of Sagar MP Laxmi Narayan Yadav, has been fielded from Surkhi while the sitting MLA from Chandla RD Prajapati has been replaced by his son Rajesh Prajapati.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.
On the long list of sons and relatives of senior BJP leaders, prominent among others who have got tickets to contest this year's assembly polls, 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.
Incidentally, Kailash Vijayvergiya, who would mockingly address Congress president as “Prince” in the past, had justified political dynasties before the release of BJP’s first list of candidates. In Bhopal, he told media that being a politician’s son should not be considered a demerit, while distributing party ticket in the upcoming assembly elections. But he didn’t comment on his son’s merit in politics.
The “virtuous son”, however, is known for accompanying his father in political rallies in the past besides politico-religious programmes. Bollywood actor Arjun Rampal, who inaugurated recently held Dev Se Mahadev cricket championship—which was held by junior Vijayvergiya in Madhya Pradesh—is expected to campaign for him in the assembly elections.
(With agency inputs)