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The current Bihar elections are a make-or-break poll battle for at least two youth leaders, Tejashwi Yadav and Chirag Paswan. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Patna: The issue of “dynastic politics” has turned very alarming in the ongoing assembly elections in Bihar, a key Indian state always impacting the national politics. It’s for the first time in the state that a huge number of politicians have handed over the batons to the next generation as they grow old, fall sick or continue serving prison sentences in various cases.

Of all, the current elections are “make-or-break” poll battle for at least two youth leaders, Tejashwi Yadav and Chirag Paswan. Tejashwi is younger son of mighty politician and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad while Chirag is the only son of India’s prominent Dalit icon late Ram Vias Paswan, who formed the Lok Janshkti Party (LJP).

It is also for the first time that the fathers of the young politicians will not be around to help them over matters related to politics. While Tejahwi’s father is serving a prison term in a multi-million dollar fodder scam eagerly awaiting bails from the court, Chirag’s dad died on October 8 after prolonged illness.

Tricks of the trade

In their absence, these young leaders are trying hard to learn the tricks of the trade at their own level. Tejashwi who heads the main Opposition Grand Alliance comprising five parties has settled the seat-sharing deals and announced their candidates after marathon meetings, Chirag is contesting elections against the NDA partner after seat sharing deals among the partners failed. Chirag who heads the LJP has fielded candidates on 143 seats, mostly against the JD-U headed by chief minister NItish Kumar. The current election is, thus, going to determine their future in politics.

The RJD and the LJP are not the only parties going for generational change; rather a large number of politicians have fielded their kin in the political arena to have control over their respective “fiefdoms”. For instance, Bihar Panchayati Raj minister and JD-U leader Kapil Dev Kamat has fielded his daughter-in-law Meena Kamat from his Babubarhi seat in Madhubani. The minister is currently admitted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Patna after contracting COVID-19 and the doctors say his condition is very serious.

The JD-U has given tickets to three more such dynasts. They included- Chandrika Rai who is son of former Bihar chief minister late Daroga Prasad Rai, Jai Vardhan Yadav, grandson of prominent Yadav leader and former federal minister late Ram Lakhan Singh Yadav and Faraz Fatmi, son of former federal minister and three-time parliamentarian MAA Fatmi.

Political heirs

Bhartitya Janata Party, the JD-U ally, too has given tickets to many political heirs who included Sanjeev Chaurasia, son of Sikkim governor Ganga Prasad Chaurasia, prominent shooter Shreyasi Singh, daughter of former federal minister late Digvijay Singh and Rani Pandey, wife of former lawmaker Anand Bhushan Pandey.

Similarly, Congress Legislature Party leader in Bihar assembly Sadanand Singh has fielded his son Shubhanand Singh from his traditional Kahangaon seat in Bhagalpur while Congress lawmaker Awadhesh Kumar Singh has fielded his son Shashi Shekhar Singh from Wazirganj seat in Gaya. The other two such names given tickets by the Congress party include Nitu Kumari, daughter-in-law of former lawmaker Aditya Singh and Rajesh Ram, son of former minister Dilkeshwar ram.

The RJD too has liberally given tickets to such dynasts. They included Sudhakar Singh who is son of state RJD president Jagadanand Singh, Rishi Singh, son of former federal minister Kanti Singh, Rahul Tiwari, son of RJD vice-president Shivanand Tiwari and Divya Prakash, daughter of former parliamentarian Jaiprakash Narayan Yadav. It is to be seen now how the masses respond to such candidates in this election.

“As such, dynasticism doesn’t remain an issue any more as every party has been giving tickets to political heirs. It is only a tool to criticise the political adversaries,” commented political expert S Narayan.