Politics is no longer just an area of interest; it now runs in families in the form of a legacy. While the trend of sons and daughters carrying forward their baton has been in existence since after Independence, now, even wives are not shying away from providing political capital.
The 17th Lok Sabha polls are in full swing, and some wives of politicians have stepped forward to take active part not just in campaigning but also in candidature. The newest in line is actress Poonam Sinha, the wife of actor Shatrughan Sinha. The 69-year-old joined the Samajwadi Party (SP) in April this year and will be contesting elections from Lucknow against Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
However, she isn't the only one who stepped forward to join politics with her husband.
Sonia Gandhi, the wife of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, is an MP and the former President of the Congress party. The 72-year-old took over as the party leader in 1998, 7 years after her husband's assassination, and continued to hold office for 19 years.
The Italy-born contested her first elections in 1999 from Bellary, Karnataka and Amethi, in UP. She won both seats but chose to represent Amethi. She was appointed the leader of Opposition in 1999. Under her leadership, the Congress won two elections consecutively. In 2013, she became the first person to serve as Congress leader for 15 consecutive years.
Dimple Yadav, wife of Uttar Pradesh's former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, first contested elections in 2009 on an SP ticket. She went against actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar from Firozabad but could not come out victorious.
Earlier, due to involvement in wealth case, she was elected unopposed to the Lok Sabha from Kannauj. The 45-year-old became the first woman to be elected to the Lok Sabha that way and the only one whose father-in-law is also a part of the same House. This year, she is an SP candidate from Kannauj.
Harsimrat Kaur Badal
Harsimrat Kaur Badal, wife of Shiromani Akali Dal's President Sukhbir Singh Badal, started her political career in 2009.
The 52-year-old was first elected to the 15th Lok Sabha from Bhatinda constituency. In 2014, she contested elections from the same constituency and was re-elected as the Union Minister for Food Processing in the Narendra Modi government. The two-time MP has been nominated again this year and will be taking on Congress's Amrinder Singh Raja Warring from the same constituency.
Pratibha Singh, wife of Himachal Pradesh's longest-serving Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, was a MP of the 14th Lok Sabha from Mandi. The 62-year-old's political career kicked off in 2004 when she defeated Maheshwar Singh and won a seat in the Lok Sabha.
In 2013, she contested again through by-elections and was re-elected to the seat.
Rabri Devi Yadav
Rabri Devi Yadav, wife of Bihar's former Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, became a part of the political scene in a rather strange way. She became the first woman CM of Bihar from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) party in 1997 after her husband had to resign due to corruption charges. She was then re-elected thrice for the same post till 2005. The 60-year-old's efforts to be a part of the political scene in the following years were not successful. She lost the elections twice in 2010 and then in 2014.
Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Prakash Karat's wife Brinda Karat also followed in her husband's footsteps and entered politics. The 71-year-old belongs to her husband's party had been involved in politics from her college days. The Calcutta-born was elected as an MP to the Rajya Sabha in 2005 from West Bengal. She was also elected to the Politburo of CPI, the highest decision-making body of the party.
Rama Pilot, wife of Congress's Rajesh Pilot, is a former MP who represented the Dausa constituency in the 13th Lok Sabha. The 71-year old became a part of the political scene in 1998 when she won the Rajasthan Assembly election from Hindoli.After her husband passed away in a car accident in 2000, the Congress elected her for by-elections. After the completion of her term in 2003, her son Sachin Pilot (Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan) was fieled for the 14th Lok Sabha elections.
Navjot Kaur Sidhu
Wife of Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, was first elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly in 2012 on a Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket. The 55-year-old resigned from the BJP in 2016 and joined her husband's party in the same year. This year, however, the couple refused to contest from their state. This comes after they failed to procure a Congress ticket from Chandigarh.