‘A surname can’t win you votes’ | india | Hindustan Times
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‘A surname can’t win you votes’

india Updated: Oct 01, 2009 00:27 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Yogesh Joshi
Hindustan Times
assembly polls 09

It’s raining excuses, days after a bunch of party leaders’ sons, daughters and distant relatives were given tickets to contest the upcoming state election.

In a number of cases, seasoned politicians and sitting MLAs were told to take a back seat.

And the resulting resentment saw a number of defections from all four major parties — the Congress, NCP, BJP and Shiv Sena — while a number of disgruntled contenders decided to go it alone and stand as Independents.

Now, some leaders are suggesting that the more seasoned rebels are playing spoilsport.

“This is my last term in the Lok Sabha. In future, people like me should be mentors and leave space for the young generation,” said Congress leader and Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, speaking at a rally in Solapur.

The ‘young generation’, in Shinde’s case, is his daughter Praniti (29), who will contest from Solapur on a Congress ticket.

Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar claimed the brouhaha over dynasty politics is uncalled-for, since democracy will take its course and weed out the ineffectual heirs.

“Only sanction from the people will decide who will be my political heir,” he said, arguing that a party could give a relative a ticket, but only good work and good governance could ensure they won time after time.

In Pawar’s case, the two contenders for the crown are daughter Supriya Sule, who has managed to get Lok Sabha seat after a short stint in the Rajya Sabha, and nephew Ajit Pawar, who is now seeking a fifth term as MLA from Baramati.

“To avoid any clashes within the family, Pawar has cleverly demarcated territories,” said political observer Nilu Damle.

“His nephew Ajit will be the last word in the state, while Supriya will take care of things at the Centre.”

Grooming of politicians’ sons and daughters is quite a tradition in India, adds Damle. “Though some may get a chance to win an election because of their surname, they ultimately do have to prove their mettle.”