By Imran Khan
For many politicians in Bihar, the coming assembly elections have as much to do with political survival as keeping their political legacy alive. Among the prospective candidates of different parties are kin of prominent politicians, ready to encash their political vote banks for sailing into the legislature.
Those likely to contest the Bihar assembly polls in keeping with their families’ political traditions include the kin of Rashtriya Jata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi, former chief minister Jaganth Mishra, Shakuni Choudhary, rendra Singh, Ashwani Choubey, nd Kishore Yadav and Jagdish Sharma.
For most top politicians, promoting their kin in politics is nothing exceptiol and elections are the right time and the best opportunity to do so. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is an exception to this trend.
Former chief minister Lalu Prasad and his wife are said to have made up their mind to launch the political careers of their two sons, Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejaswi Yadav, and their elder daughter Misa Bharti, who are set to contest as RJD candidates.
Lalu has hinted on fielding Tej Pratap from Mahua. Tejaswi has publically declared he would contest from Raghopur despite the fact that RJD ally Jata Dal-United has a sitting legislator from the assembly segment.
A former chief minister, Rabri Devi has represented Raghopur in the state assembly and it is considered a safe seat with a sizeable population of Lalu’s castemen, the Yadavs.
Misa Bharti, who unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Patliputra, is likely to be field either from Maner or Dapur seats in Pat district.
Similarly, LJP chief and union minister Paswan’s two nephews are also likely to enter the electoral fray.
Paswan’s one brother, Ram Chandra Paswan, is a parliamentarian while younger brother and former legislator Pasupati Kumar Paras is the LJP state president. Paswan’s only son Chirag Paswan is an MP and chairman of the LJP parliamentary board.
Ram Chandra Paswan’s son Prince Kumar now aspires to contest from Kalyanpur, a reserved seat, in Samastipur district.
The LJP chief’s son-in-law Anil Kumar Sadhu, the state president of Dalit Se, is also willing to contest this time. He unsuccessfully fought the last assembly election from Masaurhi.
Though HAM leader and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi last week accused Paswan of promoting his family in politics, Manjhi’s own son and son-in-law are keen to throw their hats in the poll fray this time.
“Manjhi has already told his partymen about this and directed them to ensure their victory,” a HAM leader said.
Manjhi’s eldest son Santosh Kumar Suman is eyeing the Makhdumpur seat or any other safe reserved seat. Manjhi won from Makhdumpur as a JD-U candidate in the 2010 assembly polls. Manjhi’s son-in-law Devender Manjhi too is keen to contest from any safe reserved seat.
Another senior HAM leader render Singh is trying hard to get tickets for his two sons while his party colleague Brishen Patel is lobbying for his nephew.
Nearly a dozen BJP leaders are lobbying for party tickets to their sons and close relatives. Nitin Kishore, son of veteran BJP legislator nd Kishore Yadav, is reported to be mounting pressure on his father to get a party ticket for him.
BJP MPs Ashwani Chaubey and Jardan Singh Sigriwal are also lobbying for the party tickets for their sons, Aviral Saswat and Pramod Sigriwal respectively.
BJP MP Rama Devi is keen to launch the political career of her daughter Ragini Gupta whereas another party MP Chedi Paswan is keen for a party ticket for his son.
Former chief minister Jaganth Mishra’s son Nitish Mishra, who is with Manjhi’s HAM, is set to contest on a BJP ticket as per the understanding with the BJP.
HAM state president Shakuni Choudhary’s son Samrat Choudhary would contest as a party candidate.
Former union minister Raghuth Jha, who resigned from the RJD last week and joined the Samajwadi Party of Mulayam Singh Yadav, is keen to field his son Ajit Kumar Jha from a safe seat.
The son of former MP and fodder scam convict Jagdish Sharma, who is now with the HAM, would contest from his stronghold, Ghosi seat. IANS
(Imran Khan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)