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Politics of Chhattisgarh gharanas

india Updated: May 23, 2008 02:42 IST
Ejaz Kaiser
Ejaz Kaiser
Hindustan Times
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Gharanas may be a rich tradition in music but in politics it’s always benn looked upon as a dirty practice. Yet, politics and nepotism have always been bedfellows. The politics of Chhattisgarh is no different.

In the state, both Congress and the BJP have their political gharanas. Today, the Voras, Jogis, Sharmas, Mahants, Agrawals, Baises, Sais and Kahsyaps of the state politics are desperate to strengthen the political power of their families.

From top to bottom, any leader, who is holding any prominent position within a party, either the ruling or opposition, openly promote his or her family members into the political fold.

Not surprisingly then, all the prominent leaders in both the Congress and the BJP have been encouraging their sons, daughters and other relatives to join politics.

The list of such politicians includes Late Pt Ravishankar Shukla (Premier of Central Province & Berar and first Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh), who first introduced his two sons — Shyamacharan and Vidyacharan into politics over 50 years ago. Even Late Shyamacharan was also the chief minister of undivided Madhya Pradesh, while Vidyacharan was an MP for eight consecutive terms. Now the third-generation representative Amitesh Shukla, a former minister, is continuing the legacy.

The BJP, who often blames Congress for promoting own family members into politics, is no exception. The veteran saffron leader Lakhiram Agrawal had promoted his son Amar Agrawal more than two decades ago, who is now a minister in the state cabinet. Similarly, senior BJP leaders such as Ramesh Bais, Baliram Kashyap and Shivpratap Singh have also promoted their relatives.

The representatives from the erstwhile riyasats of Sarangarh, Kawardha, Khairagarh and Jashpur had a very convenient entry into politics after the country became Independent. Now their sons, daughters or in-laws have joined politics without having worked their way through the political ranks.

Late Shivendra Bahadur Singh from ex-Khairagarh riyasat joined politics owing to his intimacy with Late Rajiv Gandhi. Later, his wife Geetadevi Singh, brother Virendra Bahadur Singh and son Devabrat Singh, now a Lok Sabha member, also joined politics.