Currently, the BJP has half a dozen erstwhile royals among its Rajya Sabha members. Five of them are first-time members and four joined the party after it retained power in the 2019 election.
The Scindias, erstwhile royal family of Gwalior, have had a long association with the BJP and the erstwhile Jana Sangh. Vijaya Raje Scindia, Jyotiraditya’s grandmother, was a senior leader of the Jana Sangh and among the co-founders of the BJP.
On the other hand, Sanajaoba, the titular king of Manipur, has had no prior experience of politics and directly made it to the upper house on the request of the BJP.
“This was for the first time that any party offered me a political position, respecting the king of Manipur, and I accepted the offer,” Sanajaoba told ET. “I was not thinking of joining politics, as no one approached me earlier.”
In June 2016, when the BJP announced the name of Harshvardhan Singh of Dungarpur’s erstwhile royal family as its Rajya Sabha candidate, Singh himself expressed surprise over his nomination. He is the nephew of noted cricket administrator Raj Singh Dungarpur.
At the same time, the BJP nominated Sambhaji Raje, descendent of Shivaji Maharaj in Kolhapur. Sambhaji was a leading figure of the Maratha movement at the time and became a first-time RS member. The BJP also sent another member of Shivaji Maharaj’s dynasty, Udyanraje Bhosale, to the upper house in Maharashtra.
In July last year, Congress leader and erstwhile maharaja of Amethi, Sanjay Singh, resigned from the party and Rajya Sabha membership only to join the BJP and become an upper house member from the party.
In the Lok Sabha, too, there are a few erstwhile royals from the BJP, including Dushyant Singh of Dholpur and Diya Singh of Jaipur. The Congress has its share of erstwhile royals as well, such as Digvijaya Singh and till recently Karan Singh.
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