They have been shadow politicians, campaigning for their close relatives and retreating to the background once the elections are over. But as clamour grows for fielding them in the upcoming general elections, things are set to change for Nakul Nath, elder son of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, and Priyadarshini Raje, wife of Congress chief whip in Lok Sabha Jyotiraditya Scindia.
CM Kamal Nath, who represents Chhindwara Lok Sabha constituency, will have to win an Assembly election to validate his stay in office. His son, Nakul, is a strong contender for the Lok Sabha seat and the CM has conveyed his wish to the party high command.
The 42-year-old Nakul has mostly worked in the background, managing his father’s campaigns. He has never contested an election nor held any post in the party. On February 10, when the CM was visiting his constituency, Congress workers raised slogans demanding Nakul be fielded from Chhindwara.
Congress legislator Deepak Saxena, a close confidant of the CM, referred to Nakul in public as “future saansad (Member of Parliament)”. “Koi vikalp nahi (there is no other alternative)… everyone in the district wants him to contest,” says Saxena. The legislator has also offered to vacate his seat in order to facilitate Kamal Nath’s election to the Assembly.
A Boston University graduate, Nakul was present on the dais when his father visited Bhopal last year after being appointed Pradesh Congress Committee chief in May. Nakul also accompanied him when the latter took oath as the CM on December 17. Though he regularly visits Chhindwara, the February 10 incident was the first time Nakul’s name was publicly proposed by a party leader. “The day I start wearing kurta-pyjama… you will know that I am a candidate. Not now,” says Nakul.
On the other hand, Priyadarshini Raje may contest her first parliamentary election as local workers and leaders in Guna constituency, which is currently represented by her husband, have passed a resolution to this effect. If Jyotiraditya Scindia sticks to Guna, Priyadarshini could contest from Gwalior. Daughter of Sangramsinh Gaekwad of erstwhile royal family of Vadodara and Asharaje, the 44-year-old Priyadarshini grew up mostly in Mumbai.
“We want her to contest either from Guna or Gwalior. At a time when the Constitution is under threat and institutions are under attack, winning every seat is important. When competent people are available they should contest. However, the final decision will rest with the high command,’’ says Pankaj Chaturvedi, a party spokesman.
The party has scheduled an official tour from February 18 to 26 for Priyadarshini during which she will address women’s conventions in Shivpuri, Badarwas, Kolaras, Pichhor, Ashoknagar and other areas in Guna.