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V-P's Jaipur visit has tongues wagging

Onkar Singh in Jaipur | November 27, 2003 23:48 IST

Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat has rushed to Jaipur on hearing that his daughter Rattan Kanwar and granddaughter are running fever.

But in political circles his visit is being seen in a different light. The Congress says he is trying to boost the sagging morale of his son-in-law Narpat Singh Rajavi, who is contesting from Chittorgarh constituency.

"We all know that Shekhawat has been humiliated by [BJP chief ministerial candidate] Vasundhara Raje Scindia, who refused to shift Narpat out of Chittorgarh. Vasundhara does not want Narpat to win. If that happens it will be a major blow to Shekhawat..." a newspaper editor told

Mohan Prakash, general secretary of the Rajasthan Congress committee, said: "A party that can use Bhagwan Ram for its political ends will not hesitate to use a constitutional office for its electoral ends. When he comes to Rajasthan for even personal reason a clear message goes to the electorate and workers."

This is not the first time that Shekhawat has stayed in Jaipur after taking over as vice-president. Before Diwali he decided to celebrate his birthday in Jaipur and stayed on for almost a week to work out things for his son-in-law, Congress leaders say.

Local BJP leaders, however, deny this allegation. "This is a canard that is being spread by [Chief Minister Ashok] Gehlot's men. Shekhawatji is only attending to his only daughter, who is ailing," a party leader said.

Arun Chaturvedi, media cell in-charge of the state BJP, said: "Congress has stooped so low that it is not even worth commenting. Shekhawatji is here to attend to his ailing daughter and granddaughter. He is undergoing a personal family problem and the Congress is looking for political gains even in this matter."

But BJP leaders did admit that they miss Shekhawat. One of them said: "He is a master politician who has ruled the state twice even when he did not have a clear majority. We badly miss him."

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