All in the Fam­ily

India Today - - STATE - By Santosh Ku­mar

The BJP by­passes party prin­ci­ples to make room for ex-Con­gress­men and lead­ers’ kin

In Ut­tarak­hand, the 2017 elec­tion has be­come one where dis­si­dence rules. Even a party like the BJP which likes to flaunt its chaal, char­i­tra, chehra (char­ac­ter and im­age, as the party slo­gan goes) has had to kow­tow to it. Of the 70 seats in the state as­sem­bly, the BJP has given 13 tick­ets to Congress rebels who crossed over.

The party has given tick­ets to all the 10 Congress rebels who were in­volved in try­ing to desta­bilise the Har­ish Rawat gov­ern­ment last year, in­clud­ing Sau­rabh Bahuguna (son of for­mer chief min­is­ter Vi­jay Bahuguna) from Si­tar­ganj. In ad­di­tion to this, Sat­pal Ma­haraj, who joined the BJP dur­ing the 2014 Lok Sabha elec­tions, gets a ticket from Chaub­hat­takhal.

The laud­able aim, of be­ing a party which does not pro­mote dy­nas­tic rule, too, has been thrown to the winds. So for­mer chief min­is­ter and re­tired gen­eral B.C. Khan­duri’s daugh­ter Ritu gets a ticket from Yamkesh­war, se­nior state leader Munna Singh Chouhan gets a ticket for him­self from Vikas­na­gar and one for wife Madhu Chouhan from Chakrata. In De­vap­rayag, for­mer min­is­ter Mat­war Khan­dari’s nephew Vinod Khan­dari is to fly the saf­fron flag. In Dhanaulti, Union min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh’s daugh­ter’s fa­ther-in-law Narayan Singh Rana gets a ticket. There’s also another first for the BJP, fa­ther-son duo DEHRADUN schools (mostly run by the church). The BJP has, in­deed, taken note of his pres­ence. The party had to deny a ticket to as­sem­bly speaker Anant Shet from Mayem, where Vel­ingkar has a huge fan fol­low­ing. “We will get the next chief min­is­ter to can­cel the grants to English-medium schools,” he says. “That’s my sole goal.”

At the Calangute and Baga beaches, pop­u­lar among In­dian tourists, now sculp­tures of fish­er­men sym­bol­ise lo­cal cul­ture. The idea came from Calangute MLA Michael Lobo, who has be­come the BJP’s young Christian face in the last five years. Lobo, 40, was a pan­chayat head from the Congress in 2012. Now, the BJP points to him when­ever it faces ques­tions about the state’s 27 per cent Christian vot­ers. “I am work­ing to­wards ful­fill­ing Manohar Par­rikar’s dream of a de­vel­oped Goa,” says Lobo.


Elvis Gomes, a Goa gov­ern­ment em­ployee, was peeved when the state gov­ern­ment in 2014 rec­om­mended two of his ju­niors for in­duc­tion into the In­dian Ad­min­is­tra­tive Ser­vice. Though Gomes won a rul­ing against his ju­niors’ el­e­va­tion from the Bom­bay High Court, he even­tu­ally joined the AAP and was unan­i­mously cho­sen as its chief min­is­te­rial can­di­date.

Gomes, 52, says the gov­ern­ment ma­chin­ery in Goa has be­come un­pro­duc­tive since the staff is cur­rently “over­worked”. He is all for non-pol­lut­ing in­dus­tries and ar­rest­ing the flow of mi­grants to the state. The AAP’s back­ing for grants to English-medium schools is likely to at­tract Christian vot­ers, but that also means Gomes may find it hard to please some of the ma­jor­ity Hindu vot­ers.

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