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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Rajasthan royals’ affair with politics began 63 years ago

Rashpal Singh  Jaipur, April 15, 2014
First Published: 23:00 IST(15/4/2014) | Last Updated: 23:04 IST(15/4/2014)

The Rajasthan royals’ romance with politics dates back to 1951 when the former Maharaja of Jodhpur, Hanwant Singh formed a political outfit, a union of independent candidates, and contested the elections. With his election office in Mehrangarh Fort and camel as the party symbol, Singh told the masses, "Main thansu door nahin (I am not far from you).”

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Singh won the elections but unfortunately did not get to know the results, as he died in an air crash on January 26, 1952 while the counting was still on. He defeated the then popular leader and former CM Jai Narayan Vyas.

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Later, former Bikaner ruler Karni Singh won the seat five times in a row.

Former royals have now made a place for themselves in the political set up of Rajasthan. But this transition did not happen suddenly, as some of the former rulers initially contested the elections as independent candidates before joining the main political parties.

Like every time, the royal scions are trying their luck in this Lok Sabha polls too. Interestingly, they are all sitting members of Parliament.

While the Congress has repeated three royal candidates - Bhanwar Jitendra Singh from Alwar, Chandresh Kumari Katoch from Jodhpur and Ijyaraj Singh from Kota, BJP has given ticket only to one royal scion - Dushyant Singh son of chief minister Vasundhara Raje.

Congress candidate and Union minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch, daughter of Hanwant Singh, is pitted against BJP’s Rajput candidate Gajendra Singh Shekhawat for the Jodhpur seat.

Former Maharani of Jaipur Gayatri Devi had the distinction of being the first woman MP from Rajasthan when she won the elections in 1962 from Jaipur.

She retained the seat in 1967 and 1971 as Swatantra Party candidate - a party formed by her. Later, former Maharani of Dholpur Vasundhara Raje carried forward the legacy of the royal scions.

In Kota and Alwar, Ijyaraj and Jitendra are trying to repeat their 2009 feat while Dushyant is in the fray to retain Jhalawar-Baran constituency.


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