Rajasthan royals to battle it out on the poll field

Last Updated 02 April 2014, 08:39 IST

Like previous years, Rajasthan will see scions of former princely families in the Lok Sabha battlefield with all four in the fray this time being sitting MPs. Congress has fielded three royal scions while BJP one.

In Jodhpur, Congress candidate and Union minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch, daughter of former Maharaja Hanwant Singh, is pitted against BJP's Rajput candidate Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

Another Congress candidate and Union minister, Jitendra Singh is contesting from Alwar, which is among the five of the 25 constituencies going to polls on April 24. Polling in 20 constituencies will be held on April 17.

In Kota, scion of erstwhile Kota royal family Ijeyaraj Singh is in the fray. He is the son of Maharao Brijraj Singh and joined politics in 2009 before the elections. An alumnus of Mayo College, Ijeyaraj, who pursued higher studies in the US, looks after the assets of the Kota royalty.

Dushyant Singh, son of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and a member of former Dholpur royal family, completes the list. He is contesting to retain Jhalawar-Baran constituency.Katoch won the Rajput dominant constituency in 2009 by a margin of 98,329 votes and securing 53.06 per cent of total polled votes. She became the Union minister of culture in 2012.

The 70-year-old Katoch, married into royal family of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh, has been active in politics for over four decades and has also been cabinet minister in Himachal Pradesh government besides holding other important posts.

"I have been serving people through politics actively and I do not see royalty as a hindrance in being among commoners because we are public representatives," Katoch told PTI.

The sister of Gaj Singh, head of erstwhile royal family of Jodhpur, hopes that the family's sway over the Rajput community will help her in retaining the seat where she is highlighting among voters the central government's initiatives and projects for development.

"Projects like IIT and AIIMS were started by the central government to develop Jodhpur. New trains were announced and other developmental works were carried out by our central government during the last five years and the projects which are incomplete will be finished in the next five years," she said.

Jitendra Singh had secured 59.02 per cent of total polled votes and won the Alwar seat in 2009 by an impressive margin of 1.56 lakh.

Rajasthan was ruled by kings before Independence and, after the abolition of privy purses in 1971, many of the royals have become entrepreneurs or hoteliers and some families also entered politics.

The erstwhile royal families of Alwar, Dholpur, Jaipur, Kota, Bikaner, Bharatpur, Jodhpur are active in politics in the state and their prominent members, including Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur and Maharaja Karni Singh of Bikaner, have represented their constituencies in Parliament.

(Published 02 April 2014, 08:38 IST)

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