The Telegraph
 
CIMA Gallary

Modi camp toils for a Varanasi grandson

- Bismillah kin not willing
Bismillah Khan and (right) Madan Mohan Malviya

Lucknow, April 21: A grandson it will be but not the one chosen first.

Shehnai exponent Bismillah Khan’s son Zamin Husain today said none from the family would propose Narendra Modi’s name when he files his nomination from Varanasi on Thursday, sending the BJP to the door of the grandson of freedom fighter Madan Mohan Malviya who has agreed to step in.

“The BJP representatives called us yesterday. Initially we thought it was about asking us to perform. It later transpired that they wanted one of us to be a proposer for Modi. But this we never would like to do,” Zamin Husain, who also plays the shehnai, said.

His family, Husain said, has “never taken any open political stand”. “We always dwelt in the realm of music and culture.”

Modi’s aides were trying to persuade the family to send at least one member — a son or a grandson — as proposer. Under Section 33 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, a candidate has to get his name proposed by a voter of the constituency in the court of the district collector in the presence of the returning officer while filing nomination papers.

Bismillah Khan’s grandson and Husain’s son Affaq Haider said his grandfather used to say: “You can talk to me for hours about music but keep me away from politics”. Neither he nor his father would refuse an invite for a cultural programme for any party, but they wouldn’t let Bismillah Khan’s name be dragged into politics, Haider added.

“Political parties remember the ustad only during elections and after that no one bothers about him. You can see that (even) after eight years of his death, his mausoleum is yet to be built despite tall promises,” the grandson complained.

Bismillah Khan, who was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 2001, died on August 21, 2006.

A resident of the temple city said the BJP wanted a proposer from the family as that would have helped link its prime ministerial nominee with the “legacy of cultural inclusiveness” the late musician left behind.

Modi’s name will now be proposed by retired judge Giridhar Malviya, grandson of BHU founder Madan Mohan Malviya. “I have agreed to be the proposer for Narendra Modi. I believe Modi will take the nation forward with his principles, uniting everyone,” he said late in the afternoon.