Is it the beginning of end for family rule in Himachal?

BJP, like Congress, preferred a newcomer instead of an MP’s kin

Shimla: Having taken cue from the Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, political parties in the hill State have emphasised on bringing an end to the ‘ascribed political statuses and instead stressed on promoting the ‘achieved political statuses’ especially by the upcoming and unconnected youth.

The roving Congress icon had talked in length during his organisation building exercise here on the democratisation of Congress frontal organisations that are the prime feeders for the party.

“Let the leaders come from grass root and not patronise the kith and kin of already established families”, Rahul Gandhi had categorically said.

Coincidentally, the Congress in Himachal was prompt to react and refused the by-election ticket to Ms Pratibha Singh, who is wife of Union Steel Minster Virbhadra Singh from the Congress stronghold of Rohru.

The party high command reversed the decision despite of her being nominated as the sole candidate by the local party unit. The party preferred a young face Manjeet Thakur who is the Chairman of local Block Development Committee in the constituency.

But surprisingly it is not the Congress only that has refused ticket to the kin of a senior party leader and preferred a grass root worker for the coming by-election in the State.

For the Jawali assembly seat in Kangra that was vacated by Mr Rajan Sushant of BJP who has won the recent Loksabha election there was a hot race for grabbing his seat by elder brother Madan Sharma and his wife Sudha Sushant.

However, the party steered clear of it and favoured a ground worker Baldev Raj who was not even nominated by the local party unit of Jawali for a ticket, obviously because of the pressure of home MP.

Top party sources in BJP though denied that the decision had anything to do with Rahul Gandhi’s argument but they called it a very good decision by their own high command.

“Our top leaders have also supported this decision and would welcome any such move in future”, they said. But when reminded of such cases included Mr Dhumal’s MP son in BJP, they said, “Simultaneously it shouldn’t be considered a demerit if someone is related to a senior leader”.

“We had forced even the Congress leadership to change their decision by not allowing a family member of Mr Sushant to fight the bye elections in the State”, they argue.

Political analysts on the other hand have welcomed the decision by and large.

Perhaps, after the days of Dr YS Parmar – the first chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, and the numbered years of Shanta Kumar that in the politics of Himachal, the pendulum has swung from giving precedence to the criteria of “winnability”- influenced mainly by family politics, to “political morality” that is earned by hard work for the organization.

KY Singh is a political observer and a senior journalist with an interest in a diverse set of issues related to Himachal Pradesh and other mountain states. He lives in Shimla.

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1 Comment

  1. says: VIVEK MOHAN.

    “Family Rule” – an Indian version of modern day aristocracy in the name of Democracy! Dr.’s kids will be docs…Army’s ward will only join Army so on and so worth…Where’s the human evolution?

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