In the run-up to the Gujarat assembly election, parties commanded their leaders to shun dynasty politics, but the edict appears to have come a cropper. As many as 21 selected candidates are the sons of either sitting MLAs or ex-MLAs. BJP has given tickets to seven such candidates and Congress to 13. Kandhal Jadeja, the son of ex-MLA Santokben Jadeja, is fighting on the SP ticket from Kutiyana.
The political heft of their fathers and the much-touted ‘winnability’ factor were the principal considerations for the parties. The sons of two Gujarat ex-CMs have got Congress tickets—Dr Tushar Chaudhary is the son of Amarsinh Chaudhary (the CM from 1985 to 1989); and Mahendrasinh Vaghela, the son of Shankersinh Vaghela (the CM from 1996 to 1997).
Tushar will contest from Khedbrahma, and Mahendrasinh will fight to retake Bayad.
BJP has picked Bhushan Bhatt from Jamalpur-Khadia. He is the son of a former cabinet minister and ex-speaker, Ashok Bhatt. Jayesh Radadiya, the son of another former cabinet minister, Vitthal Radadiya, will contest from Jetpur on a BJP ticket.
As many as three former Congressmen jumped ship to join the BJP, and the party rewarded them by fielding their sons. Congress’s 10-time MLA from Central Gujarat, Mohansinh Rathwa, severed his decades-long association with the party after he sensed that his son Rajendrasinh would not get the Chhota Udepur ticket. Rajendrasinh is now the BJP’s face in Chhota Udepur and will take on Congress’s Sangramsinh, the son of another senior tribal leader and former railway minister Naran Rathwa.
Kanu Makwana who has been fielded from Sanand by BJP is the son of Congress turncoat Karamsinh Makwana. Yogendra Parmar, the son of another Congress turncoat Ramsinh Parmar, will represent BJP on the Thasra seat.
Congress is also betting on heirs to regain some ground. Sanjay Rabari, the son of ex-Congress MLA Govabhai Rabari, has been fielded by the party on the Deesa seat. His father was the MLA of this constituency twice in the past.