MP assembly elections 2018: Parachutists rule the day

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] used to say that politics was the second-oldest profession. I’ve come to know that it bears a gross similarity to the first Ronald Reagan (Speech in Los Angeles, California, March 2, 1977)

They said they would not encourage defections. They did. They said loyalty would be rewarded. It was not. They said they would not hanker after office. They did. They said opportunism was bad. They were opportunistic to the hilt. They said nepotism and dynasticism should be avoided like the plague. They embraced both.

Dynasty politics: What is wrong about it?

Going by the way the political parties distributed tickets for the Assembly polls in the state, one would not be wrong in assuming that they not only do not do what they say, but they also do just the opposite. And although they say every rule has an exception, this one does not seem to. Whether it is the ruling BJP, or the main Opposition Congress, or such smaller players as the SP, BSP or JAYS desperately hoping to play kingmaker if the polls throw up a hung Assembly all behaved in exactly the same manner. Let us begin with the party with a difference, the BJP. For as long as one can remember, the BJP, and its earlier avatar, the Jansangh, have been putting the Nehru-Gandhi family in the dock for promoting parivarvad.

But look at what they did! Among those who have been fielded by the party, Mudit Shejwar, Vikram Singh and Akash Vijayvargiya are sons of Gauri Shankar Shejwar, Harsh Singh and Kailash Vijayvargiya, respectively. The former two are ministers and the latter is BJP national general secretary. Umakant Sharma is the brother of ex-minister Laxmikant Sharma and Krishna Gaur is the daughter-in-law of former CM Babulal Gaur. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan was so keen to ensure that the party picked son Mandar Mahajan as its candidate that she got the announcement of the party’s candidates from Indore delayed. The battle of the sons between Tai (Mahajan) and Bhai (Vijayvargiya) was, ultimately, settled in favour of Bhai.

Long list of rewarded defectors

Both parties welcomed turncoats with open arms and nominated them as their candidates, throwing cold water on the hopes of dedicated party workers, toiling for years. There is a long list of ‘parachute candidates’ in both parties. BJP MLA Sanjay Sharma, who hitched himself onto the Congress bandwagon at the last moment, has been fielded by his new party from his old seat.

Chaudhary Rakesh Singh, who moved to the BJP from the Congress on the eve of the last polls, has been rewarded with a ticket, although after a cooling-off period of five years. The BJP even rolled back the announcement of its candidate from the Ghatiya constituency when former Congress MP Premchand ‘Guddu’ defected to its camp. Guddu’s son, Ajay Borasi, has now been named as the party’s candidate.

Loyalty is an alien concept

Not only the political parties, but their leaders, too, proved conclusively that they could beat chameleons hands down in changing colours. Thus, Sanjay Sharma suddenly discovered that the atmosphere in the BJP was “suffocating” and Sartaj Singh, a BJP politician of 38 years vintage, turned Congressman within hours of being denied a ticket. And the party obliged him with a ticket. And BJP MLA Narendra Kushwaha decided to contest as an Independent when the party said no to his ticket plea.

Satyavrat Chaturvedi, Congress MP, whose mother and father were both top party politicians, was so angered by the denial of a ticket to his son that he fetched an SP ticket for him and announced he would campaign for him ‘openly’. SP chief Akhilesh Yadav had very conveniently announced at the very outset that Congress detractors were welcome into his fold.

Family first

The Congress provided a touch competition to the BJP in this respect. Party veteran Digvijay Singh, who is said to have lost favour with Rahul Gandhi, still managed to secure tickets for three of his family members son Jaivardhan Singh, brother Laxman Singh and nephew Priyavrat Singh. If all of them win, they will not miss their family in the House! The party has also fielded Vikrant Bhuria, son of its MP, Kantilal Bhuria and Om Raghuvanshi, son of former Assembly Deputy Speaker Hazarilal Raghuvanshi.

Alawa’s amnesia Dr Heeralal Alawa, a young and ‘committed’ tribal, who, as the top man of JAYS, had created ripples with his slogan of ‘Abki Bar Adivasi Sarkar’ developed amnesia about his principles the moment the Congress offered him nomination. JAYS is now firmly seated in the party’s lap.