Congress asks leaders to shun feudal titles

The Union minister of state for industry and commerce is a scion of the royal family of Scindias, who had ruled Gwalior in the 19th and 20th centuries till the India’s independence from British rule in 1947. And people still address him as “Shrimant” or “Maharaja” in Gwalior. The royal titles are also attached to his name when the Congress MP from the Guna constituency attends party events anywhere in what had once been his ancestors’ estate.

Not anymore though. The Congress on Monday sought to make one more step to get closer to “aam-aadmi” (common man) and sent words down the party that none of its leaders should use feudal prefixes like Maharaja, Maharani, Kunwar, Shrimant or Begum.
To begin with, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) started removing the “feudal prefixes” from the names of its leaders in all the databases maintained in the party headquarters here.

“The feudal titles will not be used on official records of the party henceforth,” said AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi.

He said that the Congress’s decision was also a signal to its leaders to delete from their names the appendages that reminded the bygone era and to discourage their supporters from using such titles while referring to them in the party events.

And Jyotiraditya Scindia is not the only Congress leader who would have to ask his supporters to relieve his name from a royal title.

Senior Congress leader in Uttar Pradesh, Noor Bano, is  from the erstwhile royal family of Rampur —now a parliamentary constituency where she was the party’s candidate against Samajwadi Party’s Jaya Prada in the just-concluded LS polls.

She prefixed her name with “Begum” even in her nomination paper submitted to the Election Commission. The posters the party put up for her also referred to her as Begum Noor Bano.

But she too would have to happy with just “Noor Bano” or “Noor Banoji” in the party events.

Congress general secretary and former Madhya Pradesh  Chief Minister Digvijay Singh would now be known in the party circle just as Digvijay Singh and not as Rajasaab Digvijay Singh.

A senior AICC functionary that the party was against this practice from the beginning and the proposal of dropping such feudal titles was being considered for quite some time.

“The Congress had fought against feudalism in the past. A number of organisations like the Praja Mandal were set up by the party to fight against feudalism,” he said.  “Hence, a Congress leader should not carry on with the baggage of a bygone era.”

The Congress’ s advisory to its leaders to do away with royal appendages came almost three decades after the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s Government had abolished privy purses for the then Maharajas.

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