The Lok Sabha elections of 2019 saw Siddharth’s first-ever participation in active politics. This second time around, he holds at least some knowledge on how to go about it
Siddhart Bishnoi, who cut short his US visit as soon as he heard about his father Chander Mohan being given the Congress ticket from Panchkula, is a busy man. Days that begin at 7 in the morning have no specific time to end. Meetings that start from early mornings go long into the night. The only time that the family members see one another’s face is late at night when they discuss their agenda for the next day.
Siddharth moved back to India from the UK in 2017 as he wanted to look after his parents. He has always wanted to give back to society and even run a soup kitchen during his time in the UK along with a few friends, feeding the homeless and the hungry. After coming back, he even opened a foundation by the name of his grandfather Chaudhary Bhajan Lal in early 2018 in Kalka which deals with education, empowerment and environment. Siddharth also did a cycle rally this time last year and found a host of problems that existed among people. “People are emotional and powerless. Their children are roaming jobless. It is the biggest issue I have noticed on the ground. They point to random things, tell me it was your father who made this bridge, this community centre, installed these taps, all of whom now lie in tatters,” he says.
The Lok Sabha elections of 2019 saw Siddharth’s first-ever participation in active politics. This second time around, he holds at least some knowledge on how to go about it. “I focus on areas that dad (Chander Mohan) cannot go to and work according to my strengths. I have a strong connection with the youth of the city and with the urban population of the city. There are teams under me that look after promotions in colleges and my wife is actively looking after our campaign at Panjab University.”
Siddharth can sometimes be spotted visiting the same villages as his dad. “While dad talks to the elders, I collect the younger ones and the urbanised groups and have a chat with them. It is about whom you connect with,” he says.
Chander Mohan should get a clear win, according to Siddharth. “He is the only one who has ever worked for the constituency. BJP spent Rs 19 lakh on a ‘Charkha’ statue. Had Gandhi been alive, he surely would have died after hearing about the obscene amount spent on it. This amount could have instead be used to buy actual ‘charkhas’ for people who lie jobless. Dad has stood in front of the bulldozers stopping the colonies from being brought down. It was during his time people moved from Chandigarh to Panchkula. Since the BJP has come to power, Mohali has progressed by leaps and bounds while Panchkula has gone two steps back.”
Having strong opinions, Siddharth has no intention of joining politics as of now. “I will continue to support my father who has gotten a chance to serve people he loves.” If his father does not listen to his suggestions, he says, “If he doesn’t, I’ll contest the elections opposite him.”
The Congress has time and again been accused of supporting and promoting nepotism in the party. About this recent wave that has risen against dynastic politics, Siddharth says, “I support it. Nobody should be elected just because their father or grandfather was elected. People should be selected based on their merit and sincerity.”
The Chand Mohammad controversy, which never seems to leave Chander Mohan’s side, amuses Siddharth. He says, “It was a long time ago and happened in his personal life. It has never affected anybody else and instead dealt a blow to his career itself. Our family has come out stronger after the incident and yet people completely unaffected by it seem the most interested.”
While the son is at the forefront of the campaign, the daughter-in-law, Shatakshi Bishnoi, remains behind the scenes. She is the main coordinator who runs around all day, handing out the family’s schedules to them while also managing the resources and logistics. All this while, she does not forget to remind her husband to eat his breakfast before leaving for the day.
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