Time and again the Bharatiya Janata Party has hit out at the Congress for promoting dynasty politics. It has been claiming that the Congress has not allowed people in the party to flourish and instead passed on the baton generation after generation in the Nehru-Gandhi parivar. In 2015, in a special issue of an RSS mouthpiece, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had stated that the struggle being witnessed in Indian politics today was between merit and dynastic politics. However, the recent list of candidates announced by the BJP has brought the ruling party itself in the dock.
Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stated that family members of party members must not contest elections, the list of candidates announced by the BJP is totally in contrast with the statement.
Take a look at this list of names rolled out by the BJP as candidates for the elections. Does this not tell a similar tale of dynasty politics that we have been hearing them accuse about?
Pankaj Singh: Home Minister and veteran BJP leader Rajnath Singh’s son Pankaj has been given the Noida seat to contest in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections. Pankaj has been active in politics since 2002 and has a considerable following among the youth.
Gopal Tandon: Son of former Lok Sabha MP Lalji Tandon, Gopal Tandon, is contesting from the Lucknow East seat. Gopal is also the state Vice President of the BJP. His father Lalji is considered as one of the most well-known faces of the BJP in Lucknow. Considered close to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Tandon was elected to the Lok Sabha from Lucknow in 2009 after the former prime minister did not contest from the seat. This is not the first time that Gopal is contesting the polls on BJP’s ticket.
Sunil Dutt Dwivedi: Son of Brahm Dutt Dwivedi, Sunil is contesting from the Farrukhabad seat. Brahm Dwivedi was a party stalwart in the Farrukhabad region before he was assassinated in his hometown along with his personal bodyguard in 1997. Not just his father, his mother Prabha Dwivedi too was a former minister in BJP government
Prateek Sharan Singh: Singh is the son of mafia don-turned Gonda MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Brij Bhushan was elected to the Lok Sabha from Gonda as a BJP candidate but he joined the Samajwadi Party in 2008. Just months before the 16th general election, he yet again moved to the BJP and is currently a member of the Lower House.
Sandeep Singh: Sandeep Singh is keeping his first foot in politics from the same Atrauli seat from where his grandfather Kalyan Singh contested as a Bharatiya Jan Sangh candidate in 1967. Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh won the seat eight times and lost twice. The seat went to Sandeep’s mother Premlata when Kalyan Singh won from Bulandshahr in 2004. 25-year-old Sandeep is said to have returned from UK after getting an MA in public relations from Leeds University.
Mriganka Singh: Remember BJP leader Hukum Singh who had made it to the headlines in 2016 after he released a list of Hindu families who had moved from Kairana? His daughter Mriganka Singh has grabbed the BJP ticket to contest from the region. It was alleged that the hate speeches were made by Hukum Singh to create a platform for his daughter’s launch.
Clearly, the PM’s ‘advice’ has not been taken into consideration. In fact, it’s not just the sons and daughters of long-time BJP candidates who have got the tickets, turncoats too, who had a strong political lineage have grabbed a seat for themselves.
Is the BJP not indulging in the same practice that it is accusing the others of following?