Would BJP shun nepotism? Go for its 2019 formula?
Sourabh Sood | TNR
The three by-polls, two for assembly seats and one for a Lok Sabha seat, that are due in Himachal Pradesh have thrown up the eternal question — would BJP and Congress promote nepotism while selecting their respective candidates for the by-polls or devise a different strategy.
BJP think tank mulling options
The BJP think tank is actively considering two options. The first option is to consider taking benefit of the sympathy generated for family members of the deceased leaders who were sitting MLA and MP, respectively of Jubbal-Kotkhai assembly seat and Mandi Lok Sabha seat.
The second option under consideration of the think tank is to go for a formula used successfully in bypolls held in 2019.
Ignoring family members of deceased leaders then, the BJP had fielded untested and young candidates for assembly bypolls for Dharamshala seat of Kangra district and Pachchad seat of Sirmour district. BJP had chosen Vishal Nehariya instead of BJP MP Kishan Kapoor’s son for the Dharamshala seat. Nehariya went on to win and his opponent, the Congress candidate, forfeited his deposit. Seven time winner and former minister Gangu Ram Musafir lost the Pachchad seat to BJP’s woman candidate Reena Kashyap.
Claimants among BJP leaders
Chetan Baragata, son of deceased minister Narendra Baragata, has staked his claim for contesting the Jubbal-Kotkhai assembly seat as the party candidate. Neelam Darek and Prajwal Brasta are also making efforts to be selected as the party candidate for this seat.
Chetan Baragata has worked at the national level in the BJP IT cell and is active in Shimla area.
For the Mandi Lok Sabha seat, deceased BJP MP Ramswaroop Sharma’s elder son has expressed his desire to be selected as the party candidate. Former MP Maheshwar Singh has also put up his name as a prospective candidate.
The names of hydel power minister Mahendra Singh, education minister Govind Thakur and retired Brigadier Khushal Singh are also doing the rounds as prospective candidates for the Mandi seat.
Congress has no qualms in preferring family members
Meanwhile, Congress has not lost time in declaring Rohit Thakur, grandson of former Chief Minister Thakur Ramlal, as the party’s candidate for the Jubbal-Kotkhai assembly seat. The party is said to be actively considering to field Bhawani Pathania, son of deceased MLA from Fatehpur, Sujan Singh Pathania, as the party’s candidate for the Fatehpur seat.
The party hopes to cash in on the sympathy wave for Bhawani Pathania. Pandit Sukhram’s grandson Ashray Sharma wants to be the party candidate for the Mandi Lok Sabha seat even as Congress is said to be considering former MP Pratibha Singh and former minister Kaul Singh as party candidates for the Mandi seat.
Family legacy does not always pay off
Kin of successful politicians, who got the family legacy handed over to them on a silver platter, have not always been able to repeat the magic or perpetuate the legacy in the long term.
In the 90s Naveen Dhiman, son of BJP MLA Master Virendra, did get to contest and win once. After that one term as MLA he vanished from the political scene.
Former education minister Ishwar Singh Dhiman’s son Anil Dhiman is on the sidelines. The political careers of former Union minister Pandit Sukhram’s son Anil Sharma and grandson Ashray are in the doldrums. Abhishek Rana, son of Congress MLA from Sujanpur, Rajinder Rana, has not been able to establish himself convincingly in politics. Neeraj Bharati, son of former MP Chandra Kumar, lost his grip in this field despite having been elected MLA once.
Successful kin of politicians
In stark contrast, there are some kin of politicians who have gone on to create a name for themselves in the political field. Former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal’s son Anurag Thakur has not remained in the shadow of his father for long. He went on to prove himself and that is why he got promoted as a Union Cabinet minister last week.
Former deputy CM Pandit Sant Ram’s son and former minister Sudhir Sharma, former CM Virbhadra Singh’s son and MLA Vikramaditya Singh, former minister Kunj Lal Thakur’s son Govind Thakur (education minister), former minister Milkhi Ram Goma’s son Yadvindra Goma (former MLA), former minister Sat Mahajan’s son Ajay Mahajan (former MLA) and a few others have been able to carry their family legacy forward successfully.
AT A GLANCE
Results of by-polls held in Himachal Pradesh:
1993: Hamirpur assembly seat
Vacated due to death of sitting MLA Thakur Jagdev Chand, BJP
Bypolls winner: Anita Verma, Congress
1998: Paragpur assembly seat, Kandra district
Vacated due to death of Virendra Dhiman, BJP
Bypolls winner: Nirmala Devi, BJP
1998: Baijnath assembly seat, Kangra district
Vacated due to death of Pandit Sant Ram, Congress
Bypolls winner: Dulo Ram, BJP
2004: Guler (now Jwali) assembly seat, Kangra district
Vacated due to Chandra Kumar of Congress becoming MP
Bypolls winner: Harbans Rana, BJP
2011: Shri Renukaji assembly seat, Sirmour district
Vacated due to death of Prof Prem Singh of Congress
Bypolls winner: Hirda Ram, BJP
2011: Nalagarh assembly seat, Solan district
Vacated due to death of Hari Narayan Saini of BJP
Bypolls winner: Lakhvinder Rana, Congress
2014: Sujanpur assembly seat, Hamirpur district
Vacated due to Rajendra Rana of Congress contesting Lok Sabha seat
Bypolls winner: Narendra Thakur, BJP
2017: Mewa (now Bhoranj) assembly seat, Hamirpur district
Vacated due to death of Ishwar Das Dhiman of BJP
Bypolls winner: Anil Dhiman, BJP
2019: Dharamshala assembly seat, Kangra district
Vacated due to Kishan Kapoor of BJP becoming Lok Sabha member
Bypolls winner: Vishal Nehariya, BJP
2019: Pachchad assembly seat, Sirmour district
Vacated due to Suresh Kashyap of BJP becoming Lok Sabha member
Bypolls winner: Reena Kashyap, BJP