Bloodlines and Ballots: Saga of Family Legacies

In the political landscape of Gujarat, ‘winnability’ is a guiding principle for parties while selecting candidates for electoral contest. Yet specific parliamentary constituencies in the state harbor a family legacy, with multiple members of the same family having vied for office over time.

Take, for example, the Amreli Lok Sabha constituency in Saurashtra. It is perhaps the only seat in the country where parents and their daughters have participated in elections. Virji Thummar, a Congress stalwart, previously represented the seat while his wife Nila contested and lost. Now their daughter Jenny Thummar is entering the fray as a congressional candidate for the upcoming May 7 elections. Despite her family ties to the seat, Jenny continues her independent journey in politics. “I didn’t get the LS ticket because of my parents.

I have been active in the party organization since 2015,” she says. Jenny, the only child, returned from London after completing her MBA and took the plunge into politics. She was a member of the Amreli district panchayat before becoming president. She worked in the state Youth Congress wing and is currently president of the state Mahila Morcha. The party has also appointed her as an observer in Rajasthan for these elections.

Similarly, in the Sabarkantha Lok Sabha seat, there are deep family ties. The Congress has fielded Tushar Chaudhary, the sitting MLA from Khedbrahma constituency, as its candidate. The former Union minister is the son of former CM Amarsinh Chaudhary. Notably, his mother, Nisha Chaudhary, had represented the constituency three times in the 1990s.

The Anand Lok Sabha constituency in central Gujarat also has a rich heritage. The constituency was represented by Congress leader Ishwar Chavda five times between 1980 and 1998 and witnessed a family continuum with the subsequent candidature of Madhavsinh Solanki’s son, Bharatsinh. Ishwar was the father-in-law of Madhavsinh, a former Gujarat CM and Union minister. Bharatsinh fought four times from the chair, winning twice and losing twice.

In the 2024 general elections, the Congress has nominated Amit Chavda, the MLA from Anklav constituency and grandson of Ishwar Chavda, to uphold the family’s political legacy.
Further, the Vadodara Lok Sabha seat bears the imprint of the royal lineage of the erstwhile princely state of Baroda. Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad represented the seat four times. Ranjitsinh Gaekwad was elected MP twice from the seat, and Satyajitsinh Gaekwad was elected once from Vadodara LS seat.