The major parties are fielding many new faces related to established political names in the upcoming UP polls.
Lucknow: The UP assembly elections will not just be a fight for power, it will also be a fight to inherit political legacy by the new generation.
Besides Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi, the scions of the Samajwadi Party and Congress, coming together to claim power through an alliance, sons and daughters of several other political bigwigs will also be making an electoral splash this time.
Interestingly, many of these debutants have solid academic backgrounds and have quit promising careers to pursue the family profession or their heart’s call.
Despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s suggestion to senior leaders to not press for tickets for their kin, the BJP has nominated a fair number of new faces related to the established names to take up the contest for government formation in UP.
Leading the ‘son rise’ brigade of the saffron party is the party’s state general secretary Pankaj Singh, son of Union home minister Rajnath Singh, who has been fielded from Noida instead of sitting party MLA Bimla Batham.
Pankaj (38), an MBA from Amity University, has been active in politics since 2002 and has been on the ticket contest since the 2007 assembly election when he was set to make his debut from Chandauli, his father’s hometown. For company, he has Sandeep Singh, the grandson of Rajasthan governor and former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh, who will contest from the traditional family seat – Atrauli. Sandeep is a post-graduate from the University of Leeds in England.
BJP MP Hukum Singh’s daughter Mriganka, who runs private schools, has been given a party ticket from Kairana. The party has also repeated its sitting MLA from Lucknow (East) Ashutosh Tandon ‘Gopalji’, the businessman son of senior party leader Lalji Tandon. Gopalji previously won the seat in a by-election. Union minister Kalraj Misra’s son, Amit, who was seeking a ticket from Lucknow (East), failed to get a nomination.
Also in the BJP list is Prateek Bhushan – son of mafia don-turned-Gonda MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Prateek – who has an MBA from Melbourne University – has got a ticket from Gonda.
The saffron party has not disappointed turncoat Swami Prasad Maurya, fielding his son Utkarsh from the Unchahar seat. The part is also backing Nilima Katiyar, the daughter of Prem Lata Katiyar, from Kalyanpur and Sunil Dutt Dwiedi, son of Brahm Dutt Dwiedi, from Farrukhabad.
Meanwhile, the Congress has put its faith in London-returned management graduate Aditi Singh – daughter of muscleman Akhilesh Singh – from his traditional Rae Bareli seat. Although Akhilesh had won as an independent, he has traditionally been associated with the Congress and this time his daughter will be trying her luck on the party ticket.
Thirty-two-year-old Tanuj Punia, a chemical engineer from IIT Roorkee will be making his electoral debut from Zaidpur seat in Barabanki, the constituency nurtured by his retired bureaucrat father P.L. Punia.
For the Samajwadi Party, Abdullah Azam (27), an M.Tech, is in the running from Swar Tanda in Rampur where his high profile father Azam Khan has considerable influence. Likewise, Nitin Agarwal (34) will be seeking re-election for the Hardoi seat. An MBA from Pune, he is the son of senior party leader Naresh Agarwal and has been a minister in the Akhilesh Yadav government.
The BSP has made Abbas Ansari, a national level shooter and three-time national champion son of mafia-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, its candidate in the Ghosi seat. Abbas, who has represented India at international events, came to the BSP fold only recently when his father’s party, the Quami Ekta Dal, merged with Mayawati’s party.