Notwithstanding tall claims made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his constant jibe against ‘dynasty’, the list of NDA candidates in Bihar shows blood is thicker than sweat.
Though the BJP-led alliance released the names of 39 candidates for the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies, at least 12 of them belong to some dynasty or other. And not a single party - neither the BJP nor the LJP or the JD (U) - could be treated as an exception.
FIVE POINT SOMEONE
Cocking a snook at Modi and Amit Shah’s dynast jibe, Ram Vilas Paswan leads the pack with all the five LJP candidates hailing from one political family or the other. Of the five nominees, three belong to Paswan’s undivided family. While his son Chirag will be re-contesting from his seat Jamui, Paswan’s younger brother Pashupati Kumar Paras, an MLC, will contest the Lok Sabha poll for the first time from Hajipur, a constituency represented by senior Paswan for nearly four decades. Another younger brother Ram Chandra Paswan is again in the fray from Samastipur.
Of the other two LJP nominees, Veena Devi (fielded from Vaishali) is the wife of JD (U) MLC Dinesh Singh. Similarly, Chandan Kumar (fielded from Nawada, the seat currently represented by BJP’s Giriraj Singh) is the younger brother of Surajbhan Singh, don-turned-politician.
“In a democracy, it’s the voters who elect MP or MLA,” said Paswan, rejecting the dynast charge.
SIX PACK ABS
But then, the LJP is not alone. The BJP has also fielded six such candidates who hail from a political family. Take, for example, the case of Ravi Shankar Prasad, who will take Shatrughan Sinha head-on from Patna Sahib. While it’s commonly known that the veteran BJP parliamentarian has been a four-term Rajya Sabha member, it’s not widely known that his father Thakur Prasad was a senior RSS leader and served as Bihar’s Finance Minister in Karpoori Thakur Government in the 70s.
Similar is the case with Dr Sanjay Jaiswal, the BJP nominee from West Champaran and the present MP. His father Dr Madan Jaiswal also represented the seat earlier as BJP MP. The BJP candidate from Muzaffarpur Ajay Nishad is the son of former Union Minister Jai Narain Nishad. Ashok Yadav (fielded from Madhubani) is the son of veteran BJP MP Hukumdeo Narain Yadav. So is Sushil Singh (Aurangabad), whose father Ram Naresh Singh represented the Rajput-dominated constituency in western Bihar. Lastly, Rama Devi (the BJP MP from Sheohar, who has been fielded again) is the widow of late Brij Bihari Prasad, senior RJD leader who was gunned down in a Patna hospital.
The JD (U), which also abhors dynasty, has fielded Kavita Singh from Siwan to take on jailed RJD leader Md Shahabuddin’s wife Heena Sahab. At present an MLA, Kavita is the daughter-in-law of former JD (U) legislator Jagmato Devi.