In his political rallies, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had labeled Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi as a shehzada (prince), critisising him for dynasty politics.
The 'shehzadas' of BJP: (L-R) Ajay Malhotra, Rajiv Babbar and Pravesh Verma
That very dynasty politics, however, now seems to have crept into the political mainframe of the BJP too with sons of veteran BJP leaders VK Malhotra, OP Babber and former chief minister of Delhi Sahib Singh Verma being handed out tickets to contest the coming assembly polls in December on the party’s ticket.
The trio of Ajay Malhotra, Rajiv Babbar and Pravesh Verma — who have been dubbed as political greenhorns by many — are first-timers and are hoping to connect with the youth.
Sources said within the BJP, party workers also labeled Ajay, Rajiv and Pravesh as their own ‘shehzadas’ now.
Munching on dry fruits on the sprawling lawns of his Lutyens’ bungalow, the junior Malhotra sought to clarify what dynastic politics was according to him.
“We can term dynastic politics as something only when both the persons are active in politics at the same time as is the case with the Congress. However, in my case, my father has voluntarily decided to take a backseat. I have been managing the work of my father silently for the past many years and people in my area know me. BJP has been of the view that young people should come forward and take charge. I have new ideas and these ideas might not be a priority for my father. Moving away from the usual concerns of bijli, sadak and pani, I want to look at renewable sources of energy and promote solar energy,” said Ajay Malhotra who will contest from Greater Kailash.
Rajiv Babbar, a DU graduate who has also got a law degree and will contest from Tilak Nagar, said earlier too his area has had two MLAs. He promised to work with his father for the development of his constituency.
“People are talking about dynastic politics but in my case I have been actively involved in the affairs of the party for the past 23 years. I started with the ABVP and then struggled as a worker for many years. I was made the district president of west Delhi in 2009 and I am the spokesperson of the
party now,” said the junior Babbar.
He said his mother wanted him to contest the elections in 2008 too, but the party had favoured his father then. “All of them are very happy. My father started the campaigning process today. The area recognises us as the two MLAs and he will continue to play an active role now,” he added.
Another ‘son’ who has bagged a ticket is Pravesh Verma (36), son of former chief minister of Delhi Sahib Singh Verma. He will contest from the Mehrauli seat. He runs his own NGO and is a graduate from Delhi University.
“I have worked for the party and worked closely with my father. I am confident of my win and will get support from the youth. I was the state secretary and was connected with youth BJP and just because my father is a senior leader should not become a criterion for my disqualification. His name is an added advantage,” said Verma.