Family and politics are often synonymous in India – no matter what party you talk of – and Bihar is no exception.
Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad’s decision to field eldest daughter Misa Bharti from Patliputra Lok Sabha constituency caused senior party leader Ram Kirpal Yadav to revolt openly and resign from all party posts.
Kirpal joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in March and will contest against Misa.
Lalu’s earlier political moves have involved making his wife Rabri Devi the chief minister. His brothers in law Sadhu Yadav and Subhash Yadav hold political office, and Lalu’s sons Tejpratap and Tejaswi are already being groomed for the political plunge.
Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party is contesting from seven seats, and three of the candidates are from his family: Ram Vilas himself from Hajipur, his son Chirag Paswan from Jamui, and Paswan’s younger brother and former member of Parliament Ramchandra Paswan from Samastipur.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is an anomaly in such a scenario. "I have neither a daughter, son, brother, brother in law nor wife to field for Lok Sabha polls," the Janata Dal-United leader has been reminding people while campaigning across the state.
Kumar’s only son Nishant “has nothing to do with politics,” says a staffer at the chief minister’s official residence in Patna.
Nishant is an engineer like his father. It is learnt that he likes high-tech gadgets, and according to police personnel posted at the chief minister residence, Nishant also likes to visit temples and other places associated with religion and spirituality. “Nishant has never shown any interest in politics so far,” says a JDU leader close to Kumar.
Nitish Kumar’s older brother Satish Kumar, an Ayurveda practitioner, says he has no political ambition either. “I am happy to do my usual work. Politics never attracted me,” Satish Kumar says.
The Kumars are not totally free of the confluence of dynasty and politics.
Nitish Kumar’s father Ramlakhan Singh, who was an Ayurveda practitioner and a freedom fighter, contested assembly elections from Bakhtiarpur for C Rajgopalachari’s Swatantrata Party in 1957.
Of Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha constituencies, this year the RJD is contesting from 27 seats; its ally Congress is contesting from 12 seats, and the Nationalist Communist Party is contesting from one seat.
The LJP’s ally BJP is contesting from 30 seats, and another LJP ally Rashtriya Lok Samata Party is contesting from three seats.
Kumar’s JD-U is contesting from 38 seats, and its ally Communist Party of India is contesting from two seats.
Image: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar