The scion of Rewa princely family, Pushpraj Singh, is sitting in a room of his ancestral fort, flanked by century old photographs of Rajas and Maharajas. He belongs to the 36th generation of the Baghel clan of rulers whose erstwhile empire, one of the biggest princely states in Madhya Pradesh, was spread over 34,000 sq km.
He is also a Congress leader, having won Rewa assembly seat thrice for the party and occupying a ministerial post in Digvijay Singh government. He is trying to convince me why the Congress enjoys an upper hand in the Vindhya region: “All the diseases of the Congress have been transmitted to the BJP.”
He is not contesting the election this time. His son is, but from the opposite camp. Divyraj Singh, who belongs to the 37th generation of Baghel rulers, is a sitting BJP MLA from neighbouring Sirmaur and his party has decided to field him again this time.
Rewa is one of those former princely families that decided to charter a political course for themselves in Independent India. Pushpraj’s father, the late Maharaja Martand Singh was elected to the Lok Sabha thrice from Rewa constituency. His mother also tried her luck in politics. Reports say the going is getting tough for his son this time. Continue reading “How caste engages voters in Vindhya”