Hectic activity is being witnessed at the Amar Mahal Palace complex in Jammu where three generations of the Dogra dynasty, under the guidance of veteran Congress leader Dr Karan Singh, are busy planning and executing the poll campaign of Vikramaditya Singh, the Congress candidate for the Udhampur Lok Sabha seat.
Dr Karan Singh, at the advanced age of 88, has reached here to campaign for his son and will, on Monday, plunge into active election campaign of Vikramaditya, who is first-timer in electoral politics. Dr Singh is scheduled to address a series of election rallies in the remote areas of the constituency that sprawls over an area of 20,230 square kilometres and touches Himachal Pradesh, Anantnag and Shopian districts of Kashmir and also Rajouri district along the Line of Control (LOC).
Recalling his strong bonding with the Udhampur constituency, Dr Singh told The Statesman on Sunday that he believes in maintaining high standards of election campaign and could never imagine of indulging in mudslinging at the BJP or any other candidate. Vikramaditya was also campaigning in a dignified manner without unnecessarily criticising his opponents.
While meeting delegations and political activists at the lawns of the palace complex, Dr Singh was concentrating on his emotional attachment with the Udhampur constituency which he represented for about 17 years from 1967 to 1984. He is seeking an opportunity for Vikramaditya who is seeking election almost 40 years after he (Dr Karan Singh) contested his last election from Udhampur in 1980.
The ladies of the royalty are also working behind the scene with Vikramaditya’s wife, Chitrangada, who is the daughter of late Madhavrao Scindia, taking care of logistic support. She feeds the data on a computer which is helping the men folk properly steer the campaign.
Vikramaditya’s 27-year-old son Martand is on the move round the clock and independently mobilising the youth in the constituency. He will accompany his grandfather for the campaign to Udhampur on Monday and several other places thereafter.
The contest is not being taken lightly as Dr Jitendra Singh, minister of state in the PMO is the BJP candidate and is seeking re-election from the Udhampur seat.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already addressed an election rally in Jammu and is scheduled to again come to Udhampur. BJP President, Amit Shah, is also scheduled to address rallies in Jammu and Udhampur constituencies next week.
Besides his own influence, Dr Singh, who never lost from Udhampur and represented the constituency four times by winning the Lok Sabha election in 1967, 1971, 1977 and 1980, Vikramaditya is also being supported by the National Conference and PDP who have not fielded their candidates against him.
Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, and Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia will campaign for Vikramaditya on April 12 and 15 respectively. Vikramaditya’s daughter, Mriganka, is married to the grandson of Amarinder Singh.