“I have remained a paratrooper in the army but am not a paratrooper in politics,” Manvendra Singh said on Sunday, reacting to chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s remark that the Congress has fielded him as a parachute candidate from the Jhalarapatan assembly constituency. Manvendra Singh, son of former union minister Jaswant Singh, has been pitted against Raje as a Congress candidate from Jhalarapatan for the December 7 Rajasthan assembly polls. Manvendra, who was a BJP MLA from Sheo, quit the ruling party and joined the Congress recently. Raje has been a BJP legislator from Jhalrapatan since 2003.The Congress lacked courage to field a strong candidate against her, Raje said during her nomination rally in Jhalarapatan on Saturday. The Congress fielded a candidate like Manvendra Singh whom the party was not willing to give ticket from Barmer, she claimed. In reply, Manvendra said, “The Congress has a strong base in Rajasthan and there is no constituency in the state where the Congress does not have a strong candidate.” Speaking exclusively to HT in Kota, he said, “Rajasthan is a land of bravery, where no one is short of courage. There is no point in saying that the Congress lacks courage.”Manvendra said he did not want to make harsh comments on Raje since she “is elder to me and also is a woman.” On the ‘outsider’ charge, he said, “My in-laws’ family lives nearby Hadoti region.” On the challenge of contesting against Raje, he said, “Indeed contesting against (BJP’s) CM candidate is a tough call but I have taken up the challenge.” He added, “I have not sought ticket for assembly polls and it is the party’s decision to field me from Jhalarapatan.” Asked about his winning chances, Manvendra said, “I will emerge victorious with the affection of people of Jhalarapatan.”About his poll agenda, he said apart from “poor law and order, misrule of the BJP government and unemployment”, he would take up local farm issues, such as irrigation and due prices for crops. “There is an undercurrent in Rajasthan in favour of the Congress in the assembly polls.”Asked about the buzz that scion of former Kota royal family and former MP Ijyaraj Singh is planning to join the BJP, Manvendra said, “If that happens, then it would be a personal loss for me since I know Ijyaraj Singh for long,”Congress co in-charge Tarun Kumar and party leader Indramohan Singh accompanied Manvendra when he arrived in Kota. Manvendra garlanded a statue of Congress leader Madhav Rao Scindia.