All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Madhusudan Mistry startled colleagues in the party recently when he said that children of Congress Ministers and MPs should not be given priority when candidates are being selected for the May 5 Assembly elections.
Congress heavyweights, who have been moving heaven and earth to get ticket for their children, were understandably upset with the proposal. For a party widely acknowledged as the fountainhead of dynastic politics in the country, Mr. Mistry’s statement was considered uncharacteristic.
Children of three union ministers — Mallikarjun Kharge, K.H. Muniyappa, K. Rahman Khan — and the son of the former Chief Minister Dharam Singh hope to get the coveted ticket. AICC general secretary B.K. Hariprasad proposed his brother, the former police officer B.K. Shivaram, for the Malleswaram constituency. Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva has not yet managed to get the clearance for her daughter Kripa Alva, sources said.
A source close to Mr. Kharge said the decision to okay his son Priyank has been held up as the Gandhis are in the United States. The source pointed out that Mr. Kharge saw no hitches in his son getting the ticket as he had lost by a margin of 900 votes in a byelection he contested from Chittapur. Since then, Mr. Priyank has been “nurturing” his constituency and that the state party unit had recommended only his name for the constituency. If Mr. Priyank is denied the ticket, it would send wrong signals to loyal party workers, the source warned.
Not wanting to lose out, Mr. Muniyappa and Mr. Khan have also proposed their children, Roopakala and Mansool Ali Khan, for the KGF and Jayanagar constituencies, respectively. Fortunately for Mr Dharam Singh there has been no major opposition to his proposal for fielding his son Ajay Singh from Jewargi.
The Congress politicians defend their lobbying for their kin by pointing out that the BJP and Janata Dal (Secular) too indulge in dynastic politics. The former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and his Public Works Minister C.M. Udasi were successful in getting ticket and sending their children B.Y. Raghavendra and Shivakumara Udasi to the Lok Sabha. The former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, helped one son H.D.Kumaraswamy become an MP and supported another son H.D. Revanna and daughter-in-law Anitha Kumaraswamy to become legislators.
The former Minister C.Channigappa and his son Gourishankar are also getting ticket to contest from Doddaballapur and Tumkur Rural from the Janata Dal (Secular).