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Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Personal connect, not royal background, matters in elections now in Himachal Pradesh

Erstwhile royal families dominated the Himachal Pradesh politics for three decades but now it is a personal connection with voters that seems to matter in elections.
Last Updated : 20 May 2024, 06:07 IST
Last Updated : 20 May 2024, 06:07 IST

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Shimla: Erstwhile royal families dominated the Himachal Pradesh politics for three decades but now it is a personal connection with voters that seems to matter in elections.

In the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, only one erstwhile royal family member -Congress leader Vikramaditya Singh - is in the fray from Mandi seat, while in 2019, nobody with the royal background fought the elections.

"Leaders who have served the people are regarded and now there is no impact of the royal families. What matters is how you behave with people," BJP leader, three-time MP and king of erstwhile Kullu royal family Maheshwar Singh told PTI.

Congress leader and former minister Asha Kumari of Chamba royal family said, "It is the personal equation of the candidate that helps in today's era, but Vikramaditya Singh has the benefit of being the son of six-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh who did not portray himself as king of erstwhile Rampur State." Locals said that the impact of royal families is diminishing in the elections.

"Mandi Lok Sabha seat holds the record of sending a maximum number of 13 royals in 19 elections, including two bypolls held since 1952," said Priyanka, a local from Balh area of Mandi.

Scion of Rampur estate and state minister, Vikramaditya Singh is the son of Congress state chief and sitting Mandi MP Pratibha Singh.

He is pitched against BJP candidate and actor Kangana Ranaut.

Scions of Royal families, including three women, were elected to Lok Sabha 17 times since 1952 and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh from Rampur princely state was elected five times, twice from Mahasu and thrice from Mandi while his wife Pratibha Singh was also elected thrice.

Maheshwar Singh from erstwhile royal family of Kullu was elected thrice, Tikka Lalit Sen of Suket twice and Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur from Kapurthala royal family, Raja Joginder Singh of Mandi, Chandresh Kumari from Katoch dynasty and Anand Chand from Bilaspur were elected once.

Himachal came into existence with merger of 31 erstwhile princely states and the people of areas like Chamba, Kullu , Kinnaur and Rampur were dependent financially and for other reasons on the royals earlier, said Professor Ramesh Chauhan, head of the department (political science), Himachal Pradesh University.

In old Himachal, feudal mindset still persists in Solan, Shimla, Sirmaur and part of Mandi but Kotgarh and Kotkhai were under the British empire so people from there are democratically active, said retired professor (practical science) Kamal Manohar Sharma.

Polling for all four Lok Sabha seats of Himachal will be held on June 1 in the seventh and last phase of the ongoing general elections.

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Published 20 May 2024, 06:07 IST

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