The ASI protects five historical sites around Najibabad including the cemetery of its founder, Rohilla chieftain, Najib-ud-Daula. It is also one of the two assembly segments in UP, which the CPI (M) won in 2002, and is desperate to protect this time, even if it means keeping it all in the family.
The Party has done what most other parties do when their sitting MLA or MP expires before election – field the nearest family member capable of fighting an election. In Najibabad's fate, the responsibility has fallen on Rajkumar Raju, son of CPI (M) MLA Ram Swaroop Singh, who passed away in August 2006.
In fact, Swaroop Singh won the seat three consecutive times – 1993, 1996 and 2002 and now the electoral mantle, it seems, has naturally fallen on political rookie and former teacher at an Uttarakhand college, Raju. But senior party member Ram Pal said that it was Raju's toil and not his bloodline that got him the ticket for Najibabad.
"Even though he (Raju) has never fought an election, he has been actively involved with the Students' Federation of India and CPI (M)'s youth fronts in student days. He was chosen on merit," Ram Pal told Hindustan Times.
The CPI (M) is fighting the seat with the help of Samajwadi Party, which has not put up any candidate. On Sunday morning, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had a meeting with Raju and other CPI (M) members to find out the situation. "At this moment, it seems to be a fight between CPI (M), BSP and BJP," Ram Pal added.
The CPI (M) central leadership has also done its bit to give support to Raju, one of the 14 candidates put by the Party. Politburo member Brinda Karat, MP Mohammd Salim and central committee member Suhasini Ali has held public meetings and campaigns for Raju. But whether Raju would be able to carry forward his father's legacy would be known in a month's time.