The Karni Sena has once again garnered a lot of media attention after holding massive protests against Sanjay Leela Bhansali's upcoming period drama Padmavati. The group has alleged distortion of historical facts and accused the movie director of playing with the sentiments of the Rajput clan.
Shri Rajput Karni Sena (SRKS) is a Rajput caste group founded in 2006. It is headquartered in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The main centers of the Karni Sena are based out of Jaipur, Nagaur and Sikar districts. However, there is an executive body of the association in all the districts of Rajasthan.
Karni Sena was the brainchild of Lokendra Singh Kalvi who formed a social justice forum in collaboration with rebel leader Devi Singh Bhati of BJP. The forum leaped into mainstream politics by contesting the Rajasthan assembly elections of 2003.
The major agenda on which the forum fought the elections was granting reservation to Rajputs and other upper castes in Rajasthan. In the elections, the forum managed to win just a single seat. Devi Singh Bhati won the elections and later got into the BJP.
So let us take a look into Lokendra Singh Kalvi's political career so far
During the first tenure of Vasundhara Raje as Rajasthan Chief Minister, Lokendra Kalvi organized Karni Sena rallies as a form of protest against the state govt for securing reservation for the Rajputs. In one such rallies, there was a massive gathering organized in Jaipur but it did not gather steam due to infighting among Rajput leaders.
Before the 2008 assembly elections, Kavli made a switch to Congress. He was quite certain that the party would reward him with a ticket for the assembly or later the Lok Sabha. However, things did not turn out in Kalvi's favour and the Congress did not make him a candidate.
After the 2008 state polls, Kalvi went into an oblivion for a long time but the Karni army managed to garner attention in the state political landscape. Before the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, Kalvi joined hands with the BSP. But this time he did not even come to the election season.
Kalvi contested the Lok Sabha election from Barmer-Jaisalmer seat but his maiden poll campaign ended in a defeat. It is notable that his father Kalyan Singh Kalvi was elected as a Member of Parliament from the same seat.
The Karni Sena has not courted controversy for the first time. This organization held massive protests against Ashutosh Gowariker's film Jodhaa Akbar in 2008. Jodhaa-Akbar could not be released in Rajasthan due to opposition.