Former rulers of princely states have often thrown their hat in Uttar Pradesh’s political ring but the royals of Asothar in Fatehpur have always turned down political overtures.
“They have maintained a distance from politics since independence, no matter how much the political class and other royals have tried to get them on board,” says Dilip Singh, a political analyst in Fatehpur.
“The family is active in the social sphere and wields considerable influence on people,” he says.
After the Congress’s post-Emergency defeat, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi visited Asothar with an invite to the family to join the party. Raja Vishwanath Singh and Kunwar Lal Chandan Singh curtly turned down the offer.
Another former Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh, known as the Raja of Manda, too tried in vain to rope in the Asothar royals after he broke away from the Congress and formed the Janata Dal.
Former Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand chief minister ND Tiwari and former CM Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna too could not get the royals to enter politics.
Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh, a royal from Raghavgarh in Madhya Pradesh, still tries to get them to join the political bandwagon. He is a close relative of the Asothar royals.
“The family has made it clear it will not drift from the principles of their forefather Raja Bhagwant Rai. The family feels that coming under the banner of any political party means subjugation and a compromise on its independence. It has been rejecting offers from all the political parties consciously,” says Dilip Singh who knows the family well.
SP Singh, head of the history department with Christ Church College here and a keen political analyst, says the royals of Uttar Pradesh have sided with one party or the other.
Over the years, Rajas, Nawabs, Raj Kumars and Rajkumaris have tried to make their presence felt in politics. They have depended on their family legacies. The ploy has worked for them and their parties.
“It is their way of being relevant in public life through politics. See, how deeply royals have involved in politics in Bundelkhand,” he says.
“This family is an exception, I don’t find any other example. It takes courage to resist offers from the most powerful figures,” he says.