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Swati Vashishtha
Friday , November 29, 2013

Of Amri Devi and the irresistible opium of political clout


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Whipping up a storm in the desert as she cruises through the dusty tracks of Jodhpur's Luni constituency in the front seat of an SUV these days is a traditionally turned out woman in her eighties, Amri Devi. At the onset of her eighty second winter Amri Devi would have been spending her days soaking in the sun stretched out on a charpoy in comforts of her courtyard. But the Bhanwari Devi rape and murder case for which her son former Congress MLA Malkhan Singh Bishnoi is in jail along with former minister Mahipal Maderna continues to bring twists in her twilight years. The latest of which has been a ticket for the assembly polls to her by the Congress party counting on the 'winnability' factor attributable solely to her family's political legacy. So now armed with a Congress ticket in a desperate effort....


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rajasthan's own 'Princess and the pea' in Sawai Madhopur


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Remember Princess and the Pea? The fairytale about a 'real' princess and the test of a nagging pea under the mattresses she was put through by the old queen. Princess Diya Kumari breaks bread during her election campaign today in Sawai Madhopur. She enjoyed her simple meal of bajre ki roti and chhach. The story's political avatar is now unfolding in the Rajasthan assembly polls. Interestingly in Sawai Madhopur, a large part of which is the tiger turf of Ranthambore. The BJP has fielded the former princess of Jaipur Diya Kumari from Sawai Madhopur shortly after the party took her in its fold at Narendra Modi's rally in Jaipur. The party was counting on the former royal family's old connection with Sawai Madhopur named after Late Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh of Jaipur whose great grand daughter Diya Kumari is. But just....


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A girl too many?


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Could a family that dared to defy the widespread household practice of female infanticide in Jaisalmer thirty years back by raising a girl have killed their newborn girl child a week back? That's the question the Jaisalmer district administration is now holding an investigation to answer. It's the first case of its kind registered against a family for alleged female infanticide in Rajasthan where the 2011 census shows a drop of 26 in child sex ratio since 2001. And while the investigation is on the Sub Divisional Magistrate Ramesh Chandra Agarwal who exhumed the child's body and sent it for a post mortem has shockingly been posted out. While that brings a rather unsavory distinction to Devra village, the last time Devra saw a 'first' happening was in 1999. A young Jayant Kanwar the first girl her village to survive in the hotbed of....


Monday , April 06, 2009

The K-Soaps of Rajasthan


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Faraway from Ekta Kapoor's K-world, the word K, to Ashok Gehlot's ears -- just as those of many others in the Congress -- sounds anything but musical. To give the K-factor its due though, the quotient of high drama it's lending to the political snakes and ladders in Rajasthan easily equals that of the K-soaps on telly. Courtesy a certain Kirori Lal Meena. Last Thursday Dr Kirori Lal Meena sat sulking on the sofa. His head held in his hands. As we rolled our cameras he pulled out a pocket comb which I suspect he picked up from his Assembly constituency Toda Bhim ahead of Dausa. And took his time trying to do a Lalu once again. The last time he did a Lalu was when his wife became a mantri in the Gehlot government making him a 'mantri pati'. On much insistence from us -- the reporters....


Monday , March 02, 2009

Beyond rains, royalty and razzmatazz


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For anyone who thought there was little more to Rajasthan's politics than royalty, razzmatazz and rains, the results of the Assembly polls couldn't have fixed those ideas better. And now the Congress juggernaut is on the roll in the state. In the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP that sent a whopping 21 out of 25 MPs to the Lok Sabha in the last elections, has lost a lot more than just its confidence. But someone who got it all wrong in the Assembly polls is Vasundhara Raje. Right from her politics to her PR, within and outside the party. Raje had many things going for her. Her political lineage. High degree of autonomy from the party bosses. Her way with the women voters. Charisma and a progressive vision. After all how many politicians in the country we know can walk the....


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More about Swati Vashishtha

Swati Vashishtha is the Chief of CNN-IBN’s Rajasthan bureau since the network’s launch. Swati began her journalistic career with Hindustan Times and has over 10 years of experience in print and broadcast journalism. She has reported on Maoist spill over on the Indo-Nepal Border in Uttarakhand, floods in the Thar desert, Salman Khan's longest jail stay in Jodhpur, revival of rail link to Pakistan across the Thar, Ajmer and Jaipur bomb blasts, Gujjar protests and Bhanwari Devi murder case besides assembly and general elections in Rajasthan. Swati is a post graduate in Psychology. Also a fine art and travel photographer, when Swati is not working on a story, she’s either putting her camera to good use or thinking Himalayas.
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