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UP polls: A popularity test for GeNext scions

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections will not just be a fight for power, it will also be for inheriting political legacy by the new generation of several leaders cutting across party lines.

If the scions of Samajwadi Party and Congress – Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi — have come together for claiming power through an alliance in the most populous state, there are also sons and daughters of several political big wigs who will be making an electoral splash this time.

Interestingly, many of these debutants also have solid academic backgrounds and have quit promising careers to either pursue family traditions or their heart’s call.

Despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s suggestion to senior leaders not to press for tickets for their kin, BJP has given nomination to a fair number of new faces having more established names to take up the contest for government formation in UP.

Leading the “son rise” brigade of the saffron party is UP BJP general secretary Pankaj Singh, son of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh who has been fielded from Noida in place of sitting BJP MLA Bimla Batham.

Pankaj (38), an MBA from Amity University, has been active in politics since 2002 and had been in ticket contention since 2007 Assembly election when he was almost set to make his debut from Chandauli, the home town of Rajnath.

He has for company Rajasthan Governor and former UP CM Kalyan Singh’s grandson Sandeep Singh from the traditional family seat – Atrauli.

Sandeep is a post-graduate from the University of Leeds in England.

BJP MP Hukum Singh’s daughter Mriganka, who runs private schools, has been given party ticket from Kairana.

The saffron party has also repeated its sitting MLA from Lucknow (East) Ashutosh Tandon ‘Gopalji’, the businessman son of senior party leader Lalji Tandon.

Gopalji had won the seat in a bye-election last time.

However, Union Minister Kalraj Misra’s son Amit, who was seeking ticket from Lucknow (East), failed to get nomination.

Also in the BJP list is Prateek Bhushan, son of mafia don-turned Gonda MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Prateek, an MBA from Melbourne University, has got BJP ticket from Gonda.

The saffron party has not disappointed turncoat Swami Prasad Maurya fielding his son Utkarsh from Unchahar seat besides pitting Nilima Katiyar, the daughter of Prem lata Katiyar from Kalyanpur and Sunil Dutt Dwiedi, son of Brahm Dutt Dwiedi from Farrukhabad.

Congress has reposed faith in London-returned management graduate Aditi Singh, daughter of muscleman Akhilesh Singh, from his traditional Rae Bareli seat.

Though Akhilesh had won as an Independent, he had traditionally been associated with Congress and this time his daughter will be trying her luck as a Congress candidate.

32-year-old Tanuj Punia, a chemical engineer from IIT Roorkee will be making electoral debut from Zaidpur seat in Barabanki, the constituency nurtured by his retired bureaucrat father PL Punia.

For Samajwadi Party, Abdullah Azam (27), an M.Tech, is in fray from Swar Tanda in Rampur where his high profile father Azam Khan has considerable influence.

Likewise, Nitin Agarwal (34) will be seeking re-election from Hardoi seat. An MBA from Pune, he is the son of senior party leader Naresh Agarwal and has been a minister in the Akhilesh Yadav government.

BSP has made Abbas Ansari, a national level shooter and three-time national champion son of mafia-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari its candidate in Ghosi seat.

Abbas, who has also represented the country in international events, came to the BSP fold only recently when his father’s Quami Ekta Dal (QED) merged with Mayawati’s party.

PTI