New Delhi: With Rajasthan gearing up for assembly elections in December and the nomination date nearing, several senior political leaders in the State are pushing for younger members of their families to be fielded in the polls by their respective parties.
Former and incumbent legislators, party leaders from both the BJP and Congress, and even sitting cabinet ministers are hoping that their children or grandchildren get a ticket from their respective constituencies.
Gopal Krishan Joshi, an incumbent BJP MLA from West Bikaner constituency, is pushing for his son Vijay Mohan Joshi to get a chance to contest upcoming elections from the same constituency. “Absolutely, I am trying (for my son to get a ticket) this time,” Joshi told News18 when asked about the election plans. Joshi has been twice elected as an MLA from West Bikaner in 2008 and in 2013. “I am an experienced MLA from the seat and I’m still an incumbent MLA,” he said.
The decision, however, rests with the party ‘high command’, Joshi said. “The decision has not yet come, so we won’t know till then. I have not received any message from the party high command,” he said.
BJP concluded discussions over candidature for 98 seats in assembly elections on Monday in Jaipur, where party leaders, municipal councillors and party workers gave their feedback on incumbent ministers and MLAs, and deliberated over probable winning candidate from their respective constituencies.
Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindhia presided over the meet wherein anti-incumbency was a major topic of discussion. The BJP is reportedly planning to drop over half of its incumbent legislators in a bid to recapture the seats won in 2013 state elections.
Incumbent BJP MLA from Vidhyadhar Nagar in Jaipur district and influential leader Narpat Singh Rajvi, too, is reportedly trying to get his son Abhimanyu Rajvi a ticket. Speaking to News18, he denied saying so, but kept the political door open for his son. “I have not said that my son should get a ticket and I’m not trying for that to happen. I am going to contest Vidhyadhar Nagar seat again, where I’ve won twice,” the senior Rajvi said.
“However, if my son wishes to contest elections, he can try and do so on his own accord. His organisation will decide, but I’m not pushing him,” he added. Rajvi said the decision on candidature is a collective one taken by party leaders.
Abhimanyu Rajvi serves as the president of BJP's youth wing in Rajasthan and has been a regular presence in rallies in his district. He did not respond to calls from News18.
Senior Congress leaders and former legislators are also working to get their family members in the political fray this time around. Congress leader Mamta Sharma, who was twice elected to state assembly from Bundi in 1998 and 2003 elections, is working for her son Samridh Sharma to get a ticket in upcoming polls from the same constituency. “This time, I’m trying for my son,” said Sharma, who lost to BJP’s Ashok Dogara in Bundi during 2008 and 2013 Assembly elections. “He has worked hard in Bundi since 2006. We will of course follow party orders, but I want my son to contest this time,” she said.
Samridh Sharma, who belongs to family traditionally rooted in Congress, has served as Secretary for the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee for the past four years and is also an All India Congress Committee member. “I am hopeful that I’ll get a ticket this time. I have worked hard for the constituency and for the organization and I’m sure the Party will recognise that,” Sharma said. The 41-year-old leader also said Congress President Rahul Gandhi believes in promoting youth leaders. “Rahul ji had said that 35 percent of tickets should be given to leaders below 50 years of age,” he added.
His mother, who was also a former chairperson of the National Commission for Women, said her family has taken their responsibilities in Bundi as social work. “I want Bundi to develop. I want its youth to progress and its women to be empowered,” she said.
Azizuddin Azad, son of Congress leader Alaudin Azad who was elected to Assembly from Sawai Madhopur in 2008, is also putting forward his claim this time. “I am hoping for a ticket this time,” he said. Bhanwarlal Meghwal, former education minister in Congress state government and former MLA from Sujangarh, Churu, is also reportedly pushing for his daughter Banarasi Meghwal to contest on a Congress ticket. He, however, denied the claim. “I will fight elections from Sujangarh in Churu. There is a 0.001 percent chance that someone else from my family will contest the polls,” he told News18.
There are talks that veteran Congress leader and former chief minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot, might also push for his son Vaibhav Gehlot to get a ticket this time. However, a source said the claim held no weight.
“Ashok Gehlot will contest himself from Sardarpura constituency in Jodhpur. He won’t push for his son. If the party decides that he won’t get a ticket this time then he might agree under the condition that his son gets to run on the seat. Otherwise, he won’t sacrifice his ticket,” the source said.