Biwi and Beta Brigade
You can’t fault them for trying. And they know they may never have it better than now. Riding the political tide that swept them back into power in December 2013, BJP leaders in Madhya Pradesh are all set to expand their individual political realms. Oblivious to Narendra Modi’s persistent harangue against dynasties in Sonia Gandhi’s Congress, as many as nine ministers in Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s Cabinet are propping up relatives as nominees for the Lok Sabha polls. Leading the pack is the Better Halves Club: The devoted husband that he is, Finance Minister Jayant Mallayya insists his wife Sudha is BJP’s best bet in Damoh. Just as dutiful, Transport Minister Bhoopendra Singh wants his erstwhile borough, Sagar, for wife Saroj Singh. And down along the banks of the Narmada, Shashi Prabha is goading husband, Revenue Minister Rampal Singh, to get Hoshangabad seat for her, while Agriculture Minister Gourishankar Bisen’s wife Rekha has set her eyes on Balaghat.
Then there’s the Sons Inc. Panchayat Minister Gopal Bhargawa’s son Abhishek is intent on ousting Mrs Mallayya from the race for Damoh while Labour Minister Antar Singh Arya is touting son Vikas as the ‘only pucca winner’ from Khargone. Industries Minister Yashodhra Raje Scindia too is promoting son Akshay, insisting his ‘royal blue’ lineage makes him the best bet from the erstwhile princely state of Gwalior.
There is obviously no telling how many of the biwis and betas will make it past the nominations stage, but their ministerial connect is certain to help.