UP’s prime stock

Giveb that Uttar Pradesh has the maximum number of parliamentary seats in the country,it is perhaps fitting that it has also given the country.....

Written by Press Trust Of India | Lucknow | Published: March 26, 2009 12:49:39 am

Giveb that Uttar Pradesh has the maximum number of parliamentary seats in the country,it is perhaps fitting that it has also given the country the most number of prime ministers as well. But the buck doesn’t stop here,with eight hopefuls related to various former prime ministers gearing up to give the electoral battleground here a shot.

The Nehru-Gandhi dynasty: Considering that this grand dynasty has given three prime ministers to the country,it is but apt that it has contributed hefty four candidates who will be fighting it out for an entry into the 15th Lok Sabha. While different branches of the family have been estranged for a while,they seem to be following similar political strategies. Indira Gandhi’s daughters-in-law,Sonia and Maneka,will be contesting in Rae Bareli and Aonla and their respective sons,Rahul and Varun,from Amethi and Pilibhit seats. Just as Sonia had earlier vacated her Amethi seat for Rahul,Maneka did the same for her controversial son.

Charan Singh and his sons of the soil: Although Choudhary Charan Singh never hid his animosity towards the Nehru-Gandhi clan,the son and grandson of late Jat leader and fifth prime minister of India are carrying on the patriarch’s tradition much like the country’s ‘first family’ has. Both his son Ajit Singh and grandson will be attempting to bank on Jat votes,much like Charan Singh did. While Ajit Singh,chief of the Rashtriya Lok Dal,would be contesting from his family seat of Baghpat,grandson Jayant Chaudhary will make his electoral debut in Mathura. The RLD has tied up with the BJP for the coming polls.

The UP royals: Another new face in these elections would be that of Ajeya Singh,son of former Raja of Manda and late Prime Minister V P Singh,who died in November last year. Ajeya — formerly the India head of Lehman Brothers as well as Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) — will contest on a Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) ticket from his father’s traditional constituency,Fatehpur. This will be the young royal’s first round in the electoral arena.

Chandra Shekhar’s scion: Neeraj Shekhar,son of former prime minister Chandra Shekhar, will again contest from the seat nurtured by his father — Ballia in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Neeraj was given Samajwadi Party ticket in the by-election after the demise of his father in 2007 and won by a huge margin. The party has again reposed its faith in him.

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