BJP is taking the cream out of the box of Congress. One by one, Congress is losing that traditional royalty that enjoyed traditional loyalty among a voter base. Kunwar Ratanjit Pratap Narayan Singh or RPN Singh is only the latest in the royal blood to leave the Congress to join its arch-rival and ideological foe, the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Royalty was abolished, and the royals were absorbed by the politics of India as the kings of India had allegiance and influence among the people of their predecessor states. Most of the royal families were represented in politics; Princes were often involved in the ruling party some in opposition, and often in a family of different political forces.
As long as the Congress was dominant, the Congress had a majority in the top rung. Take, for example, Scindia of Gwalior. Rajmata Scindia was the founder of the Jana Sangh, which is now the Bharatiya Janata Party.
His son Madhavrao Scindia was a committed and powerful Congressman. His two sisters – Vasundhara Raje and Yashodhara Raje – are in the BJP; One was a two-time CM of Rajasthan and the other a minister in Madhya Pradesh. Madhavrao Scindia’s son Jyotiraditya was a powerful Congress leader who is now a BJP leader and Union Minister for Civil Aviation, a post his late father once held.
There was no escape from the end of the Congress hegemony. A large number of Rajasthan’s kings were already associated with the BJP, which invoked India’s glorious past, a sentiment that the royals could easily associate with and find resonance in. Congress is after all the party that dismantled and snatched his privy purse. The amount of monetary return expected to them after the country surrenders its lands and palaces in unification.
But the erstwhile Rajputana was not just a royal family. There has been non-Rajput royalty everywhere in India and one by one they too have accepted BJP as the major political force in today’s time.
Here is a list of non-Rajput royal stalwarts of Congress who are leaving the party ranks recently.
The Jat monarchy of Bharatpur was actually one of the old defenders of the Congress. But he left the Congress to join a resurgent BJP to take on Narendra Modi at the Centre. Natwar Singh was a retired Congressman who secured his son’s future in the BJP by shifting the lock, stock and barrel.
A descendant of the Maratha royal family of Gwalior and a legacy of Madhavrao Scindia recently left the Congress. The Congress government of Madhya Pradesh had to bear the brunt of this. Jyotiraditya Scindia got himself a Rajya Sabha seat and a chair in the Union Cabinet.
With family ties to the Brahmin royalty of Shahjahanpur, the royal family of Kapurthala and the famous Tagore of Bengal, he is now a member of the Legislative Council in Uttar Pradesh and a minister in the Yogi Adityanath government. Jyotiraditya, Jitin and RPN Singh all went to Doon School.
The Jat-Sikh royal family of Patiala had recently quit the Congress after the party ousted them from the Punjab Chief Minister’s seat. It was so informal for a king that he vowed to defeat the Congress in Punjab. He has not joined BJP, but has joined hands with BJP to defeat the old party. Amarinder Singh and Natwar Singh are brothers.
In the Purvanchal of UP, the Kurmi prince of Padrauna has sway not only among the people of his own caste but also among the people of Padrauna. Samajwadi Party surprised everyone by snatching OBC Dabang Swami Prasad Maurya from BJP. By charging an OBC royalty against Maurya in Padrauna, the BJP may tie Maurya to a longer term if it wants to retain the seat that has suddenly become difficult for him with RPN Singh joining the BJP.