Erstwhile rajas in poll race
Lucknow (PTI): The days of the raj are over and the kings no longer exist, but the urge to rule still persists.
Not to be left behind in the poll race, members of the erstwhile royal families will be making efforts to woo the electorate in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha elections.
With battle lines drawn, senior Congress leader Sanjay Singh, who hails from the royal family of Ramnagar in Amethi, is making efforts to win over his former "praja".
Sanjay Singh inherited the political legacy from his father Raja Rananjay Singh, who was elected to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly for the first time in 1952.
Following the footsteps of his father, Sanjay Singh too ventured in the electoral politics and was elected to the state assembly and also won the Lok Sabha polls in 1998 on a BJP ticket.
Having served as Union Minister once, Singh is back in the Congress and is seeking election from Sultanpur parliamentary constituency.
His wife Amita Singh is already an MLA from Amethi assembly seat, which is represented by Congress young turk Rahul Gandhi in the Parliament.
RPN Singh, is yet another member of the blue brigade, who will be testing his luck in the Lok Sabha polls.
RPN Singh, who hails from Padrauna state, is already a sitting MLA of the Congress and is trying to enter the Lok Sabha as party candidate from Kushinagar district.
Another Congress candidate from Pratapgarh seat, Rajkumari Ratna Singh, is a desecendant of erstwhile Kalakankar state.
Her father Dinesh Singh, 'raja' of Kalakankar estate, too was a parliamentarian.
Married into a royal family, Ratna Singh was elected from this seat twice in 1996 and then again in 1999.
She, however, lost to a member of royal bridage Akshay Pratap Singh in the 2004 general elections.
Akshay Pratap Singh is cousin of sitting SP MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya of Bhadri estate.
This time both the members of the royal brigade will be pitched against each other for the second time.
While Ratna Singh will be contesting as Congress candidate, Akshay Pratap will be seeking re-election as SP nominee.
Manvendra Singh, Congress sitting MP from Mathura, too traces his roots to a royal family.
Singh, who is seeking re-election from Mathura, belongs to erstwhile Dungarpur estate in Rajasthan and before 2004 had won Lok Sabha elections in 1984 and 1989.
Another 'raja', who is keen to maintain his dominance in the politics is Kirti Vardhan Singh of Mankapur estate in Balrampur district.
Vardhan won the last two elections in 1998 and 2004 on SP ticket from Gonda parliamentary constituency.
This time, however, the 'raja' has swtiched his loyalty and would be seeking re-election from Gonda as BSP candidate. Interestingly, Vardhan's name was also cleared by the SP from the same seat.
Taking a cue from his peer, Vimlendra Mohan Pratap Mishra, 'raja' of Ayodhya estate, is ready to take a plunge in electoral politics.
Mishra, who had maintained distance from active politics for a long time, will be contesting Lok Sabha polls from Faizabad seat as a BSP candidate.
A BJP stalwart, 'raja' Mahendra Aridaman Singh of Bah estate, is too in the fray. Singh had won assembly election as BJP candidate from Bah in 2002, but lost in 2007.
This time he is contesting Lok Sabha polls from Fatehpur Sikri seat, where he will be facing Congress candidate and sitting MP from Agra Raj Babbar.
If the kings have had their share in the politics, the nawabs of UP are not far behind.
Begum Noor Bano of Nawab family of Ramnagar is back in the race. She had won 1996 and 1999 elections as Congress nominee, but lost to Bollywood actor Jaya Prada in 2004 elections.
This time Noor Bano, whose husband Nawab Zulfikar Ali Khan was a three time MP, will be challening Jaya Prada from Rampur.