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Four royals in fray in Rajasthan

Rajasthan's erstwhile royalty has made elections exciting in the desert state where 25 Lok Sabha constituencies go to the polls on May 7. At least four members of these families are trying their luck this time.
By HT Correspondent | IANS, Jaipur
UPDATED ON MAY 06, 2009 12:35 PM IST

Rajasthan's erstwhile royalty has made elections exciting in the desert state where 25 Lok Sabha constituencies go to the polls on May 7. At least four members of these families are trying their luck this time.

Ijaraj Singh, the former prince of Kota, is contesting as the Congress candidate from Kota. He faces a strong challenge from the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Shyam Sharma.

"Ijaraj Singh draws crowds where he goes. But how much of them will actually translate into votes is yet to be seen," said Janaradan Singh, a resident of Kota.

In neighbouring Jhalawar constituency, Dushyant Singh, son of former chief minister Vasundhara Raje and a member of the erstwhile Dholpur royal family, is locked in a close battle with Congress candidate Urmila Jain.

Dushyant Singh is the sitting MP. The positive for him is the development that took place in the constituency when his mother was chief minister.

But he faces a tough fight from Congress candidate Urmila Jain whose husband is a minister in the Ashok Gehlot government and is a very popular figure among all the communities.

"Urmila Jain is giving sleepless nights to Dushyant Singh and Vasundhara Raje. The former chief minister is so worried that she is spending more time in Jhalawar than in other places in Rajasthan," said Vijay Sharma, a political analyst.

Moreover, state leaders of BJP who were sidelined by Raje when she was chief minister are believed to be working against her son.

In Alwar, Jitendra Singh, a member of Alwar's erstwhile royal family, is the Congress candidate. There the contest is mainly between him and BJP's Kiran Yadav.

"Alwar has a large number of Yadav voters who are believed to be angry with the Congress as it has not given the party ticket to a Yadav. Singh is mainly banking on minority Brahmin and other community votes," said a party source.

From Jodhpur, Chandresh Kumari, a member of the former royal family of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh and sister of Gaj Singh, the erstwhile ruler of Jodhpur, is contesting on the Congress ticket. She reportedly faces a tough fight from sitting BJP MP Jaswant Singh Bishnoi.

"Chandresh Kumari is going all out to woo voters. Despite being from the royal family, she is spending hours in this scorching heat to campaign and what is suprising is that Gaj Singh for the first time has come out of his palace to seek votes for his sister," said Surendra Kumar, a resident.

Over 37 million voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in Thursday's elections to 25 seats from Rajasthan for which 346 candidates are in the fray.

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