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The Rediff Election Special / Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
Laxman Singh may contest Vasundhara Raje seat
February 27, 2004
Who understands a royal better than another royal?
It is turning out that the main force behind bringing Laxman Singh, a member of the royal family of Raghogarh in Madhya Pradesh, to the Bharatiya Janata Party is none other than another royal from the state, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia.
The fact that Laxman Singh, who represented Rajgarh constituency in the 12th Lok Sabha as a Congress MP, is former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh's younger brother, makes the catch so much sweeter for the BJP.
Vasundhara Raje is the late BJP doyen Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia's daughter -- the Scindias ruled the erstwhile state of Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh and command unimaginable influence in the region. Vasundhara Raje is married into the royal family of Dholpur in Rajasthan.
But the royal connection does not end here. There is talk in BJP circles that Laxman Singh may contest the Lok Sabha election from Jhalawar, the constituency Vasundhara Raje will vacate now that she has taken the plunge into state politics.
Was Jhalawar then the bait used to net Laxman?
Royal intrigue would not be royal intrigue if it provided the answers so easily, right?
Vasundhara Raje and Laxman Singh are natural allies. And their royal lineage is only one thread binding them together.
Rajgarh is situated on Madhya Pradesh's border with Rajasthan. Laxman Singh knows the Congress party in Madhya Pradesh inside out -- its strengths, its weaknesses -- and may play a vital role for the BJP in the state. Vasundhara Raje has a vice-like grip over Jhalawar, having won the seat in 1989, 1991,1996, 1998 and 1999. Her support would make the election a cakewalk for Laxman Singh.
It's a perfect fit -- the kind politicians can only dream of.
Laxman Singh will need all the support he can get to prove his credentials in the BJP. Digvijay Singh has vowed to campaign against his brother. The former chief minister says the Lok Sabha election is like a dharmayuddha and family affiliations take a back seat in the battle for dharma.
It is common knowledge that Laxman Singh leaned heavily on his elder brother to win the Rajgarh seat.
BJP sources say Laxman Singh's decision to enter the party was not sudden. People in the know of things had seen this coming almost a year ago.
They say it was Vasundhara Raje who pushed Laxman Singh's case with senior BJP leaders. And it is she who is pushing for his nomination from Jhalawar.
Whatever the result of the Lok Sabha election, the Laxman-Digvijay clash -- the Chotte Raja versus Diggy Raja battle -- will be a show to watch out for.
Royal intrigue makes for good entertainment.