Kazim Ali Khan, popularly known as Naved Miya, is a relieved man. Although talks between his former and current political parties, namely the Congress party and the Samajwadi Party have failed and candidates of both parties are in the fray for the ensuing Lok Sabha polls from here. Yet this young scion of the erstwhile local royal family is unperturbed.

With the Samajwadi Party nominating erstwhile Telugu Desam Party leader and filmstar Jayaprada to contest against his mother Begum Noor Bano, the incumbent Congress lawmaker from Rampur, Naved is more than assured it is going to be a no contest.

Naved has changed parties thrice in the last two years. Having been elected for a second term in the Uttar Pradesh (UP) state legislative assembly as a Congress candidate from Swar Tanda seat in February 2002 polls, he first joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and then the Samajwadi Party to be on the right side of power as many other state lawmakers.

"I had made it very clear to Mulayam Singh Yadav (the Samajwadi Party president and incumbent Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister) that I will never contest against my mother. Thankfully no one ever asked him to contest or campaign. I was not consulted by the party. So I have no reasons to change my programmes," Naved told Gulf News at Noor Mahal.

As chairman of the Uttar Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation, he is all set to fly out to Europe once again to attract foreign investment into state's tourism sector and would not be around when campaigning ends here with polling on May 10.

Unlike the Gwalior royal family where mother late Rajamata Vijayaraje Scindia and her son late Madhavrao Scindia not only represented two different parties, they lived separately and hardly talked to each other, Begum Noor Bano and her only son Naved live under the same roof.

The mother is anguished and shows it even in the public. "My son is also angry with me. It does not mean I should break ties with you. You people to me are like my son. If is all right to be angry with me," she told her party workers at village Mursena that is part of Rampur Lok Sabha seat yesterday.

"Oh that is meant for public consumption. We have perfect understanding at home. We do belong to two different political parties but we live like normal mother and son. We don't discuss politics at home. She has her own office and I have mine," clarifies Naved.

Naved himself is nurturing ambitions to jump into national politics and says he will definitely contest the next Lok Sabha polls from Rampur itself. So will he fight against his mother? "Not at all. We shall sort it out. May be my mother will move elsewhere," he says. For this election he is happy being a silent spectator.

With the rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) deciding against fielding its national general secretary Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi who had defeated Begum Noor Bano here in 1998, every one out here is convinced that nothing can prevent the Begum from emerging victorious for a third term as MP.

However, the Begum herself is cautious. "I don't believe there is no fight. It is going to be a tough fight. My fight is not with Jayaprada but with Advani, Mulayam Singh and Mayawati.

"Mind you this election is not an ordinary election, but the time to decide whether secular or communal forces will rule the country," the Begum was exhorting her party workers to ensure here is no complacency.

Although the BJP has fielded twice Rampur MP Rajendra Kumar Sharma in Naqvi's place, Sharma is said to be facing trouble since he sold off his property and moved out of Rampur about 15 years ago.

Samajwadi Party has nominated an outsider and the BSP an ex-Congress leader Afroz Ali Khan, with limited political stature.

Like in most of the erstwhile princely states, voters of Rampur have tended to remain loyal to their erstwhile family but for a few aberrations. It all started with Nawab Syed Zulfikar Ali Khan, Naved's father, joining politics and becoming a legislator in Uttar Pradesh assembly in 1962.

He won the Lok Sabha seat in 1967 as member of now defunct Swatantra Party and joined the Congress party in 1971. In all he won Rampur seat for six terms in a row, tasting defeat only in 1991. His unfortunate death in a road accident in 1992 brought his wife Noor Bano into politics.

She won the seat in 1996 and 1999 with Naqvi winning it in 1998.

"We have been into politics for long. My maternal grandfather Aminuddin Ahmed Khan, Nawab of Loharu, was a minister in Rajasthan. He was then governor of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. My maternal uncles are also into politics. Elder uncle Nawab Alauddin Ali Khan is a member of the Rajya Sabha while younger uncle Nawabzada Ajmaduddin Ahmed Khan is a Rajasthan legislator," informs Naved, the 44-year-old symbolic Nawab of Rampur.

He has his explanation on why the erstwhile royalties joined politics. "All that they knew was to rule. They were not trained into any other vocation. Politics came closest to being the ruler as your subjects became your voters. 70 per cent of 500-odd royal families joined politics, 20 per cent joined Army since they were also warriors and the remaining 10 per cent did not do anything. Very few went into business, that too mainly into converting their palaces into hotels," Naved, a trained architect by profession, said.

He says he has been into politics since the age of 11, when as a kid he would help his father contest polls. He left his job in the United States to return to Rampur and took to politics like a duck to water. So why did he leave the Congress party and change his loyalties twice in two years?

"See Congress party is very weak in Uttar Pradesh and being in the opposition you cannot do much for your voters. That is why I joined the BSP and then when the BSP government fell, the Samajwadi Party. We are elected by the people and they have their expectations. You cannot tell them you were not able to do anything since you sat in the opposition benches."

Does that mean his mother should also then join the BJP as she has also spent all her time sitting in the opposition? "No, situation is different. The Congress is the second largest party in the Lok Sabha and may even come to power. It is different being a Member of Parliament and being a Member of Legislative Assembly," Naved says.

And to make it sure that the Rampur voters do not end up voting either for the BJP that rules at the centre or the Samajwadi Party that rules the state, Congress workers are busy spreading the word that the Congress is coming to power this time. And if that happens, Begum Noor Bano will become a senior minister at the centre.