Jatiya, 76, is seeking a ticket for his son Rajkumar for the Assembly polls.


NEW DELHI: On Tuesday, during a meeting of the core group of BJP leaders in Bhopal that had met to discuss the next year’s Assembly election, the newly inducted parliamentary board member Satyanarayan Jatiya opened the proverbial Pandora’s box by stating that election ticket should not be denied to anyone just because he comes from a political family or because his father or mother is a party leader.
The 76-year-old Jatiya, who was recently inducted into the all-powerful parliamentary board, has been a one-time MLA from Agar seat (Dewas Lok Sabha constituency) and seven-time Lok Sabha member from Ujjain. Jatiya is seeking a ticket for his son Rajkumar for the upcoming Assembly elections which are less than one year away. Rajkumar, who had made national headlines after he was charge-sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in an alleged job scam related to the Bokaro steel plant, had accompanied his father to this meeting in Bhopal. Jatiya, who has been a Rajya Sabha member and Union minister, made these remarks in the meeting that was attended by, among others, national joint General Secretary Organization Shivprakash, CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Ajay Jamwal, regional general secretary (organization), state in-charge Murlidhar Rao and state president V.D. Sharma.
Significantly, Prime Minister Modi has this year, twice in quick succession, spoken out against pushing and promoting nepotism and dynasties in politics. In April this year, while addressing BJP workers on the party’s foundation day, PM Modi said that “family parties” never allowed youths to progress. Similarly, in the election in five states that were held in March, many of the ticket probables, who were related to a sitting MLA or MP, were denied tickets by the party, based on the guidelines issued by the PM who has, in a reference to the Gandhi family, stated the “Parivar bhakti” was not good.
Following this, party national president Jagat Prakash Nadda, too, in July, while addressing a training camp in Mount Abu, Rajasthan, stated that the BJP will not support dynastic politics even if that leads to a loss of electoral losses. The Sunday Guardian reached out to Jatiya for a response through calls and messages, but none was received till the time the story went to press. There are multiple senior Madhya Pradesh BJP leaders who are looking for a political future for their children in the coming election and hence the statement made by Jatiya assumes significance and it is believed that it was not made without a discussion with the other “stakeholders”.
Apart from Jatiya, the stalwarts who are likely to seek tickets for their children include former Lok Sabha speaker from Indore Sumitra Mahajan, who had tried for it the last time, too, but was unable to because of Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi insistence on keeping children of active leaders away from the party. However, this time the chances of Mandar, who is a trained pilot, getting a ticket from Indore is strong as Sumitra is retired from active politics now.
Similarly, Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar is very keen on a ticket for his son, Ramu, alias Devendra, who is active in politics for a long time. According to state BJP leaders, Narendra Singh Tomar has multiple times expressed his worry to his close circle about the political future of his son who is married to the granddaughter of BJP stalwart Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. Home Minister Narottam Mishra’s son, Sukarn Mishra, is also looking to contest his first election in November 2023 and his Twitter and Facebook accounts are filled with the details of “public service activities” that he has been carrying out in Datia, from where his father won the last election by a thin margin of 2600 votes. The senior Mishra has not hidden his desire for his son to get the party ticket in the coming elections. But if the party gives the ticket to his son, then the 62-year-old Narottam is likely to be asked to either remove himself from active politics or he might be given a role in the organization.
Gaurishankar Bisen, who has been a minister and a two-time Lok Sabha member and is presently an MLA from Balaghat and chairman of the State Backward Classes Welfare Commission, has publicly announced that he will not contest the forthcoming elections and in his place, his daughter Mausam will contest. This has happened even as the local leadership wants a new face in place of the 70-year-old Bisen who has been contesting the elections since 1985. Another leader in the same queue is minister Tulsi Silawat, who wants a ticket for his son Nitish. The 68-year-old Tulsi is an MLA from Sanwer, Indore, and is seen as among the members of the close group of Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia who is expected to get a “big” role in the next year’s election.
Similarly, Shivraj’s son, Kartikeya, who recently completed his LLM degree from a university in the United States, is being pushed by his supporters to contest the election this time which will automatically ensure that his father moves to Delhi, something which he does not want to. Significantly, till he went for his LLM in July 2021, he was very active in his father’s constituency, Budhni.
Abhishek Bhargava, the son of Gopal who is a sitting minister and eight-time MLA from Rehli, Sagar, is among the strongest candidates whose demand for a ticket will be hard to deny by the party. The senior Bhargava has sought a ticket for his son in the 2019 general elections, too, but was not accepted. Abhishek Bhargava, for all practical reasons, takes care of the legislative work in his father’s constituency. In case the party does not give the ticket to him or his father, who will be 71 years by the time the elections happen, the Bhargavas are likely to contest on their own. The senior Bhargava has never been defeated in the elections that he has contested.
Akash Rajput, son of sitting minister Govind Singh Rajput, another Scindia confidante, who till now has been acting in movies and TV serials, is one of the contenders for a party ticket from Surkhi assembly, which is a part of the Sagar Lok Sabha. The one exception to an extent to this unwritten rule of not promoting wards of active leaders was made by the BJP in the case of Akash Vijayvargiya, who is the son of senior party leader and six-time MLA from Indore, Kailash Vijayvargiya who was the national general secretary in November 2018 and a sitting MLA when Akash was given the ticket. However, the party gave a ticket to Akash while denying the same to Kailash. Vijayvargiya, too, was present in the said meeting that took place on Monday.