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    Royal cousins defend electoral forts for Congress & BJP in Bharatpur

    Synopsis

    Vishvendra Singh, the sitting Congress MLA from Deeg-Kumher, is facing stiff competition from debutant Shailesh Singh who is contesting on a BJP ticket.

    In 2013, the BJP had won five out of seven constituencies in Bharatpur district while the Congress won two
    BHARATPUR: Two cousins belonging to the erstwhile royal family of Bharatpur are battling it out to protect their respective electoral forts in the district. Vishvendra Singh, the sitting Congress MLA from Deeg-Kumher, is facing stiff competition from debutant Shailesh Singh who is contesting on a BJP ticket.

    Forty kilometres away, his cousin Krishnendra Kaur Deepa, a minister in the Vasundhara Raje government, is striving to protect her seat in Nadbai and enter the state assembly for the sixth time.

    Vishvendra Singh is banking on 90,000 votes of his Jat community in the constituency which has about 250,000 voters in all. He is seeking votes saying this electoral contest will be his last one. “I am 62 now. I have been in politics for 25 years. I want to hang my boots but before that I want to serve my people,” he said.

    His dream, he said, is to bring water from Chambal river for the people of his constituency.

    “In next six months, I promise to bring drinking water from Chambal water project and irrigation facilities through Bharatpur feeder and Gurgaon canal,” he said.

    Shailesh Singh is son of former Rajasthan health minister Digamber Singh, who died last year after prolonged illness. In continuation of the old rivalry between Vishvendra and Digamber, Shailesh is locking horns with the former ruler, who has great influence over this region. Digamber had defeated Vishvendra in the 2008 assembly election by a narrow margin of 3,524 votes. In 2013, Vishvendra trounced him by 11,162 votes.

    “I want to complete the unfinished work of my father,” said Shailesh Singh. “If I get a chance to serve my people, I will transform this region which has been neglected for long.”

    In Nadbai, Deepa is facing Himanshu Katara, son of Ghanshyam Katara who lost to Deepa in the 2013 election while contesting on a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket. There are about 100,000 Jat voters in this constituency and they are known to be supporters of the erstwhile royal family.

    Political analysts said that there will be a triangular contest in Nadbai, where the BSP has a strong base.

    “Deepa has been winning this seat for the past three times. Each time, the runner-up was a BSP candidate. This time she will face a stiff competition from Congress’ Himanshu Katara and BSP’s Jogendra Singh Avana,” said Aryendra Singh Fauzdar, a political analyst.

    In 2013, the BJP had won five out of seven constituencies in Bharatpur district while the Congress won two. The area, being close to Uttar Pradesh, has considerable influence of BSP, especially in constituencies such as Nagar, Nadbai and Weir which have a significant Jatav population.
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