Five former royals in Madhya Pradesh battle

April 20th, 2009 - 11:52 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party By Sanjay Sharma
Bhopal, April 20 (IANS) The days of the Raj are over and the royals no longer exist but the urge to rule is still there. Not to be left behind in the electoral race, at least five members of erstwhile royal families will be wooing the electorate in Madhya Pradesh in the Lok Sabha polls.

Heading the pack is Congress heavyweight Jyotiraditya Scindia, scion of the former princely state of Gwalior, contesting from Guna. Armed with an Oxford education, Jyotiraditya Scindia is transforming himself from a distant, flamboyant prince to a mass leader.

The union minister of state for IT and communications in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is contesting elections for the third consecutive time from Guna. Jyotiraditya Scindia entered politics after his father Madhavrao Scindia died in a helicopter crash in 2001 and since then has been winning from the seat.

The other four heirs of erstwhile rulers are in the fray from Gwalior, Rajgarh, Rewa and Sidhi parliamentary constituencies in Madhya Pradesh going to polls April 23 and April 30.

Jyotiraditya Scindia’s aunt and late Rajmata Vijayaraje’s daughter Yashodhara Raje Scindia, is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) nominee from Gwalior.

Considered to be successor of late Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia, Yashodhara Scindia is contesting for the third time and is facing Ashok Singh of the Congress whom she defeated in the previous elections with a margin of about 36,000 votes.

Yet another scion of a princely state in the fray is Laxman Singh, younger brother of All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Laxman Singh, of the Rajgarh princely state which came under Gwalior, is the BJP nominee from Rajgarh seat, from where he is the sitting MP. He has converted the contest into a ‘brother versus brother’ fight with one contesting the poll and the other campaigning against him. Having retained this seat on four occasions for the Congress, he switched over to the BJP in 2004 and won again.

Like Laxman Singh, Pushpraj Singh, heir of former ruler of Rewa, too is a former Congress member. He had been a minister in the erstwhile Congress regime in the state but later switched over to the Samajwadi Party on whose ticket he is contesting from Rewa constituency.

And most interesting is the case of Veena Singh, of the erstwhile state of Churhat in Sidhi district. She is the daughter of Union Human Resources Development (HRD) Minister Arjun Singh.

Contesting from Sidhi for the first time, as an independent candidate, she would be facing resistance from her brother, Congress legislator and former Madhya Pradesh minister Ajay Singh. Her father has announced that he would campaign for her rival Congress candidate Indrajit Patel.

(Sanjay Sharma can be contacted at sanjay.s@ians.in)

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