Indore (Madhya Pradesh): In politics, it's not uncommon to witness instances where seasoned politicians step aside, sacrificing their own political ambitions to make way for younger family members.
However, an unusual scenario has emerged in Indore, where BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya has returned to electoral politics, disrupting the political journey of his less-experienced son, Akash Vijayvargiya, who was elected MLA from Indore-3 in 2018.
Six-time MLA Kailash Vijayvargiya has made a comeback after a gap of 10-years, inadvertently but effectively hitting the political career of his son and incumbent MLA Akash.
Senior Vijayvargiya, who has previously triumphed in six assembly elections held between 1990 and 2013, from various seats in Indore district, is now contesting against Congress candidate Sanjay Shukla for the Indore-1 constituency.
The saffron party has replaced Akash with Rakesh Golu Shukla for Indore-3 seat. Back in 2013, the senior Vijayvargiya was reluctant to participate in the assembly elections as he was keen on launching the political career of his son.
Leading up to those elections, Kailash had expressed his desire to devote himself to national politics and party organisation. He had even expressed his wish to ‘gift’ his son Akash his traditional constituency, Indore-2.
He even had taken to social media, expressing his intention to step aside and work behind the scenes for the assembly polls, viewing this decision as a birthday gift to his son.
However, the party was not prepared for this change and maintained its confidence in Kailash by retaining him as the party candidate in Mhow. Kailash Vijayvargiya didn't disappoint, defeating his opponent Antar Singh Darbar with a significantly larger margin of 12,216 votes.
Meanwhile, during the next five years, Akash patiently waited for his turn, working in his father's constituency, as the latter was occupied with national politics.
Ten years ago, Vijayvargiya seemed to have foreseen that there might not be room for a father-son duo in electoral politics. Well before the 2018 elections, he began planning to pave the way for his son.
In 2015, Vijayvargiya relinquished his ministerial position and shifted to national politics, expressing his desire to step away from state politics. Fast forward to 2018 assembly elections, Vijayvargiya made a strategic move by refusing to contest elections himself, ensuring that his son would be given the party ticket in his place.
This manoeuvre worked as Akash was finally granted ticket from Indore-3. Senior Vijayvargiya had initially attempted to launch his son from a safer seat, Indore-2, a constituency that the party had never lost since 1993. He himself had won the seat two decades prior, making it a stronghold for BJP.
He had secured the seat three consecutive times, and later, his protégé Ramesh Mendola won the seat by an even larger victory margin. However, in 2018, when it became evident that Kailash would be replaced by his son, he tried to persuade Mendola to vacate the seat for Akash.
Mandola was ready to step aside for Akash, but the party ultimately retained Mendola in the seat, granting the ticket to Akash for Indore-3. Akash went on to win the seat with a margin of 5,751 votes and remained active in politics for five years.
However, one incident in his political career, where he was accused of assaulting a municipal official, led to his arrest and drew the ire of none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself. The furious PM at parliamentary party meeting held that Akash’s conduct was unacceptable and action should to be taken.
"If we have to lose an MLA, so be it. We have to set an example to prevent a repeat," PM Modi had told the party leaders. With Kailash’s important role in the context of West Bengal elections, Akash managed to evade the PM's wrath. Senior Vijayvargiya brought himself back to MP politics after he failed to ensure formation of BJP government in the West Bengal.
However, he remained out of scene and was not assigned any significant responsibilities until he was sent back to try his luck in the electoral battle one more time. When Kailash received a ticket for Indore-1, he wasn't just surprised; he was stunned.
He publicly expressed this, stating that he had absolutely no desire, not even a 1 per cent inclination, to contest an election at the state level. The veteran leader went on to admit that his stature was too big to contest Assembly polls.
He even stated that the party’s move to field him was a jolt to “supporters of his son who had worked hard as an MLA that people wanted him to contest election again.”
The BJP’s central leadership, however, made it abundantly clear that they won't support dynastic politics. Akash finally was not granted ticket to contest polls. This case sets a precedent that will have its effect on many other father-son duos considering a joint political journey.