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'I can never be a politician because I'm emotional'

April 29, 2009
There are three Scindias in the electoral fray this election, but none as beautiful, charismatic and outspoken as the Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Gwalior, Yashodhara Raje, whom Archana Masih and photographer Seema Pant spent time with on the campaign trail.

She is on Facebook, is passionate about polo, peppers her sentences with plenty of Hindi words and says she can never be a politician.

"I can never be a politician because I am emotional. I win my election and go back to being a non politician. As soon as the elections are over, my politics has ended. It's down to work," says Yashodhara Raje, the bright and articulate MP from Gwalior who looks much younger than her 54 years.

Campaigning ends in two days and Yashodhara Raje is in Bairad, waiting for Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan who is coming to wrap up her campaign.

In her constituency that spreads over 500 kilometres, Bairad is a harsh expanse of barren land, its dry landscape, more menacing under the scorching April sun. She sits on a chair, head covered with her sari, a white wash cloth in hand. In front, a bunch of village women in bright saris, sit on the floor, telling her their problems.

The region of Gwalior-Guna is not new to her, it is one she has known since she was a child. She is Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia's youngest child; Madhavrao Scindia and Vasundhara Raje's kid sister, aunt to the MPs from Guna and Jhalawar respectively, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Dushyant Singh.

"I know all the hamlets, so many of my school vacations were spent on my mother's dauras (trips). We never had a proper holiday with her -- we'd be half asleep in the front seat, but little did we know that she was training us," she says, explaining how this village now fell in her constituency after delimitation and what was needed here most was a network of canals.

"My mother was actually training us. In case politics ever happens, they will know how to swim. That's why both my sister (former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje) and I know how to survive. Put us anywhere and we will survive."

Image: Yashodhara Raje addresses a campaign rally in Gwalior.

Also see: 'Language of politics has to change' | India Votes 2009