Biwi and Beta Bri­gade

India Today - - EAR TO THE GROUND -

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.

Il­lus­tra­tion by SAU­RABH SINGH

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