Vikramaditya, son of Karan Singh, joins Congress

Had quit PDP in Oct 2017, vows to ‘carry forward father’s legacy’

Anil Anand
Srinagar, Publish Date: Oct 12 2018 1:12AM | Updated Date: Oct 12 2018 1:12AM
Vikramaditya, son of Karan Singh, joins CongressGK Photo

Vikramaditya Singh, the elder son of former sadar-e-riyast of Jammu and Kashmir Dr Karan Singh formally joined the Congress party here on Thursday, nearly a year after quitting the Peoples Democratic Party. 

Vikramaditya’s short stint with the PDP led to his becoming a member of the J&K legislative council, but he subsequently resigned in protest three years before completion of his term.

The scion of Dogra dynasty—though a late entrant into politics—ultimately decided to join the party his father has been associated with for more than five decades. 

Vikramaditya joined the Congress in presence of the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress general secretary and in-charge of Jammu and Kashmir Ambika Soni and J&K Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir.

After the AICC event, Vikramaditya met the Congress president Rahul Gandhi at his residence where he was formally inducted into the party.

Tracing his links with Dr Karan Singh since his youth politics, Azad said that though the former was active in Congress politics until few months ago, “the time has now come for the new generation to take the mantle from him. Today Dr Karan Singh’s son is joining the Congress to carry forward his rich legacy.”

He said that Vikramaditya had resigned from the PDP in protest against the BJP-PDP coalition government’s “failure” to fulfill its promises on “bridging the gap among three regions of J&K and addressing the issue of regional discrimination with Jammu.”

“Due to wrong policies of the government and their confrontationist attitude, the gulf between Jammu and Kashmir regions further grew, tourism received a deadly blow and militancy increased,” he said.

Azad exuded confidence that Vikramaditya will play a significant role to “weaken the BJP by strengthening the Congress.”

Addressing the participants, Soni said that Vikramaditya had resigned from the PDP “on certain specific issue related to Jammu and broken promises of the PDP-BJP coalition government made to the region.”

“We wanted him to join Congress so that he could carry forward the legacy of Dr Karan Singh for which the talks were on for the past one year,” she said.

Terming his joining the Congress as a “proud moment”, Vikramaditya said that his family always had close contacts with the Congress and he is only “carrying forward the tradition by joining the party.” 

Referring to his short stay in PDP, he said that he parted ways with the party as it “failed to address the problems of the state, especially those in Jammu region.”

He said that he “patiently waited” for one year before deciding to join the Congress.

“All this time, I had been touring the state and meeting prominent people from different strata of the society particularly in Jammu to understand problems and firm up my view. I did not want to join any other party quickly and took my time to finally join the Congress,” he added.

Vikramaditya said he would make every effort to strengthen the Congress in the state and work for “all inclusive” J&K. 

At the same time my endeavour would also be to bring people of three regions of the state nearer, using goodwill of my family and particularly my father Dr Karan Singh, he said.

 

FREE-WHEELING INTERVIEW WITH ANIL ANAND 

Q: What are your plans in J&K and at national level after joining the Congress?

A: Primarily I will work to mobilise the Congress cadres in the state to strengthen the party with an ultimate aim to present a viable alternative to the people that is all inclusive and not based on narrow sectarian thinking. Since the election season is coming I will not hesitate to work for the part at the national level also. Though I am a Dogra but for me entire Jammu and Kashmir is my home.

Q: When you talk of Dogra pride it is immediately perceived to be attached to a particular religion. What is your perception and how would you work to restore this pride in the light of this narrow sectarian view attached to this heritage?

A: The Dogra identity has to be rebuilt in all its diversity. The current problems and wrong perception about Dogra identity is the result of BJP’s narrow and “communal vision” of the issue. For me all people of Jammu region are Dogras. It is a fact that Jammu is the only region of the state which has composite culture. We have to protect it. Rebuilding the Dogra identity is a herculean task. It will need making people, of all the three regions, aware about the contributions of the Dogra rulers particularly why J&K became part of India and contribution of Maharaja Hari Singh in achieving this.

Q:  What role would you like to play on the front and how?

A: Much would depend on how Congress leadership uses my services. Unfortunately the PDP and the Muftis did not utilise either my services or the rich legacy of my family to create an all inclusive society in the state. Perhaps the BJP’s pressure worked more on them or the PDP leadership themselves did not want it.

Q: What is your vision about Jammu and the goals you now set for yourself?

A: My first and foremost priority and goal would be to work towards ending regional discrimination and restore Jammu regions Dogra identity.

Q: Do you have any plans to contest elections, either Lok Sabha or State Assembly?

A: This is not up to me. It is for the Congress high command how to use my services. Yes, if asked to contest elections my options would be open.

 

WHO IS VIKRAMADITYA?

Vikramaditya is the elder son of veteran Congress leader, intellectual and an art-lover Dr Karan Singh. A product of Modern School, Delhi, he finished his high school from United World College, Singapore and then attended undergraduate studies at the University of California where he pursued Business Administration and International Relations.

An avid polo player, he became vice president of the Indian Polo Association and took keen interest in tourism promotion in J&K and Himachal Pradesh and was a member of the India Heritage Hotels Association. His gained political experience under the tutelage of his father and father-in-law late Madharao Scindia.

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