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|February 3, 1998|
Rajasthan's royal affair
Winning at the hustings has been a habit with the former rulers and their scions in Rajasthan.
Barring the 1977 Janata party wave and the 1984 Indira Gandhi sympathy streak, as many as 17 former royals have made it to the Lok Sabha since the first general election in 1952.
The very first battle of the ballot in Jodhpur was unique in that Hanuwant Singh, the former maharaja of Jodhpur, was declared elected posthumously. Hanuwant Singh, who contested as an Independent, died in an air accident even as counting of votes was in progress.
Former Bikaner ruler, Karni Singh, also entered the record books, by winning the Bikaner seat five times in a row, again as an Independent. He represented Bikaner from the first to the fifth Lok Sabha when he called it a day.
The former maharani of Jaipur, Gayatri Devi, had the distinction of becoming the first woman to make it to the Lok Sabha from Rajasthan in 1962 by winning the Jaipur seat. She in fact performed a hat-trick by retaining the seat in 1967 and 1971 as a Swatantra Party nominee.
In the 11th Lok Sabha poll, the former maharani of Dholpur, Vasundhara Raje (BJP), joined the former maharani of Jaipur by performing a hat-trick in Jhalawar.
Election records reveal that in the 1952 general election, four royals were elected to the Lok Sabha -- Karni Singh (Bikaner), Ajit Singh (Pali-Sirohi), Giriraj Saran Singh (Bharatpur-Sawai Madhopur) and Hanuwant Singh (Jodhpur). All the four contested as independents.
In 1957, Karni Singh won the Bikaner seat again. The 1962 general election saw three former rulers -- Karni Singh (Bikaner), Maharaja Brijraj Singh (Jhalawar -- Congress), Jaipur's Prithvi Raj Singh (Dausa -- Swatantra Party) and Gayatri Devi (Jaipur) making it to the Lok Sabha.
Gayatri Devi (Jaipur), Karni Singh (Bikaner), Brijendra Singh (Bharatpur -- Jan Sangh) were elected in 1967.
In 1971, besides Karni Singh (Bikaner) and Gayatri Devi (Jaipur), the former rajmata of Jodhpur, Krishna Kumari, was returned to the Lower House.
In the 1977 Janata Party wave, no royal contested the election.
In 1980, only Bhim Singh Mandawa won the Jhunjhunu Lok Sabha seat on the Janata Party ticket.
The 1984 election saw no royal representative in the fray.
Former yuvaraja of Bharatpur Vishwendra Singh (Bharatpur-- Janata Dal) and Hamendra Singh (Bhilwara -- JD), former maharana Mahendra Singh (Chittorgarh -- BJP) and Vasundhara Raje (Jhalawar -- BJP), were elected to the ninth Lok Sabha in 1989.
In 1991, former yuvarani of Alwar, Mahendra Kumari (Alwar -- BJP), Vasundhara Raje (Jhalawar -- BJP), and the daughter of Raja Mansingh (Deeg) Krishnendra Kaur (Bharatpur -- BJP) made it to the 10th Lok Sabha.
The 1996 poll returned the former maharani of Bharatpur, Divya Singh (Bharatpur -- BJP), and Vasundhara Raje from Jhalawar.
The current Lok Sabha poll has two former maharanis and a princess in the fray. Krishnendra Kaur is being fielded in Bharatpur by the Samajwadi Party while Vasundhara Raje is contesting the Jhalawar seat again on the BJP ticket. Mahendra Kumari is also in the fray as an Independent in Alwar after being denied a ticket by the BJP.
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