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J&K elections: PDP, NC and BJP to pit scions of royals and Ranas against each other in Nagrota

PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed boasted that Vikramaditya Singh’s entry into the party would change the future of the state.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 12, 2014, 05.20 AM IST
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The triangular contest between the BJP, the PDP and the NC will likely pit the scions of Jammu’s two powerful families – the royals and the Ranas .
The triangular contest between the BJP, the PDP and the NC will likely pit the scions of Jammu’s two powerful families – the royals and the Ranas .
SRINAGAR: The stage is set for a battle royal in Nagrota, one of 37 seats in Jammu province, where, regardless of the political entity which forms the next government in J&K, two prominent families can claim proximity to power.

The triangular contest between the BJP, the PDP and the NC will likely pit the scions of Jammu’s two powerful families – the royals and the Ranas – against each other.

The seeds of this confrontation were probably sowed in August, when Vikramaditya Singh, the eldest son of Congress leader Karan Singh, made his political debut by joining the PDP. Last weekend, his brother, Ajatshatru Singh, flew to New Delhi and was baptised into the BJP by party president Amit Shah, ending a long association with the NC.

On the other side, the Rana brothers – Jitendra and Devinder -- have emerged as powerful faces in the BJP and the NC, respectively. Ajatshatru Singh, roped in by Farooq Abdullah in the run-up to the 1996 assembly polls, eventually became a cabinet minister. He won from Nagrota in 1996, although subsequently, the grandson of former J&K ruler Hari Singh lost to the BJP’s Jugal Kishore in the 2002 and 2008 elections. The NC later nominated him to the state legislative council.

PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed boasted that Vikramaditya Singh’s entry into the party would change the future of the state. Although the party hasn’t fielded him, Vikramaditya Singh has been given the task of mobilising Rajput votes in Nagrota, a BJP stronghold that’s likely to be swept by a Modi wave. While Vikramaditya Singh will strive to ensure that every single Gujjar vote is taken by the PDP’s Hussain Ali Wafa in Nagrota, his brother Ajatshatru could be chosen by the BJP to contest for the seat.

The third contestant will be Devinder Singh Rana, a friend of Omar Abdullah and the NC’s head of the Jammu province.
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