Manvendra Singh loses but grows bigger

Manvendra Singh loses but grows bigger

Manvendra Singh

The loss in Rajasthan Assembly elections has made some politicians the emerging leaders.

One such example is Manvendra Singh, son of BJP veteran Jaswant Singh, who took on former chief minister of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje, but lost.

Vasundhara Raje won the Jhalarapatan Assembly constituency for the fifth consecutive time but her winning margin was reduced by almost half when compared to previous election.

She won by 34,890 votes in 2018 while in 2013 Assembly election, Raje won by 60,896 votes.

Manvendra, who had left the BJP in September and joined the Congress on October 17, had won from the Sheo constituency in the 2013 elections with a margin on 31,425 votes.

According to political analysts the loss is not a political death for Manvendra— he gave a tough fight to Vasundhara.

"By contesting the Assembly election against Vasundhara he has emerged as a mass leader. And his popularity is now no more confined to western Rajasthan. But his affect was visible in Barmer as well, as Colonel Sonaram lost to Congress candidate Harish Choudhry", Avinash Kalla, political analyst told DH. 

Manvendra Singh (54), who belongs to the erstwhile royal family of Jasol in Barmer, is now eyeing the Lok Sabha polls and is likely to contest from Barmer and Jodhpur.

"Whatever will be the Congress party's decision I will abide. I will go by the party's decision," he told DH.

"He (Manvendra) has fair chances of getting a Lok Sabha ticket. And him contesting from Jhalrapatan was symbolic for the Congress", senior journalist Sandipan Sharma told DH.

Manvendra's battle against Vasundhara was symbolic  because of the sour relation of his family with the saffron party and  Vasundhara.

The relationship went downside after Jaswant Singh was denied a party ticket by the BJP for the 2014 elections from his hometown of Barmer.

Jaswant Singh contested as an independent against the party’s official candidate and lost. In the same year, Manvendra was also suspended by the party’s primary membership for campaigning for his father.

Manvendra announced his exit from BJP on September 22 during the Swabhiman Rally organised by him in the Pachpadra.

In the rally, Manvendra had accepted that his family including his father, who is in coma for the last four years, along with the Rajput community are unhappy with the BJP.

Claiming that the reach of Swabhiman rally is beyond Barmer, he said at the rally "Here in western Rajasthan a storm has begun and will reach eastwards soon. It will show its presence in Jaipur as well".

The differences between Vasundhara and Manvendra's  families dates back to June 2007, when Jaswant Singh’s wife Sheetal Kanwar filed a case in Jodhpur court against the portrayal of Vasundhara Raje as goddess Annapurna.

She claimed that a poster with these images had hurt her religious sentiments. 

Later in the same year an FIR was lodged against Jaswant Singh for claiming that he had performed the banned ritual of ‘riyan’, where guests are offered opium-laced milk during a get-together at his home to celebrate the birth of his grandson.

Vasundhara, who was then the chief minister, had ordered an enquiry.

Jaswant's supporters feel that it was Vasundhara who asked her people to file a case against Jaswant.