Most Congress leaders set to be exempt from ‘one family, one ticket’ rule

The “one family, one ticket” proposal for the Congress leaders, which is being discussed with much fanfare by the party’s top leadership at its Chintan Shivir in Rajasthan’s Udaipur, will not impact most of senior party leaders, let alone Gandhis, if it is cleared.

The proposed rule’s caveat that those sons, daughters and other relatives of the Congress leaders who aspire to contest elections should have worked for the party for at least five years will in effect give an exemption from it to most of the leaders and their wards, who are MPs or MLAs, or have already been in public life.

For instance, both Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and ex-party president Rahul Gandhi can contest the coming Lok Sabha elections. The Nehru-Gandhi family’s third member in public life, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, would also be eligible to contest the Lok Sabha polls, slated for April-May 2024, if she wishes, given that by 2024 she would have worked for the party for five years. She became an All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in January 2019.

Congress leader P. Chidambaram and Karti Chidambaram in New Delhi. (Express Photo by Anil Sharma)

The “one family, one ticket” rule will thus affect only those Congress leaders who want to launch their wards or relatives directly into the hustings. Rahul, for instance, had himself made his debut straightaway as a Lok Sabha candidate of the party from Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi in the 2004 general elections. That straight poll route will now be closed.

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and his wife with son Priyank Kharge at Raj bhavan in Bengaluru. (PTI)

Take the cases of other party leaders whose wards are also in politics but will not be affected by the rule.

Among the Congress Working Committee (CWC) members, Digvijaya Singh is a Rajya Sabha MP while his son Jaivardhan Singh is an MLA in Madhya Pradesh. A K Antony’s son Anil has been working with the digital communications department in the party’s Kerala unit for some time. Mallikarjun Kharge’s son Priyank Kharge is an MLA and ex-minister. Harish Rawat’s son Anand Rawat is a former Uttarakhand Youth Congress president. P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram is a Lok Sabha MP.

Digvijay Singh poses for picture with his newly graduated son Jaivardhan Singh and daughters at Columbia University in New York. (PTI/Archive)

AICC in-charge of Chhattisgarh, P L Punia’s son Tanuj has been active as the working president of the UP Congress central zone’s SC department. He had contested the 2017 and 2022 Assembly polls and the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Pramod Tewari’s daughter Aradhana Misra is a two-time MLA. Salman Khurshid and his wife Louise Khurshid have been in public life and contesting elections for decades. Former Lok Sabha MP Meira Kumar’s son Anshul Avijit became a Congress spokesperson in September 2019.

Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s son Deepender Hooda has been in public life for close to two decades. He became a Lok Sabha MP in 2005 and is currently a Rajya Sabha member. Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath’s son Nakul Nath is already a Lok Sabha MP. Sushil Kumar Shinde’s daughter Pariniti has been an MLA since 2009.

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