Tribulations mark Buta's spectacular rise
Buta Singh has come back to the Union Cabinet after yet another spell in political wilderness.
The last time he was at the Centre was in 1995, as civil supplies minister in the P V Narasimha Rao Cabinet. He bowed out in the wake of the hawala scandal and was denied the Congress ticket in the 1996 election. This time he fought from Jalore (scheduled caste), Rajasthan, as an Independent and won.
Born on March 21, 1934, he began his political career in the
Akali Dal in 1962. Five years later, he switched over to the
He first entered the Lok Sabha as an Akali Dal candidate. Subsequently, he was elected as the Congress nominee, first from Punjab and then from Rajasthan.
Singh joined Indira Gandhi's ministry in 1974 as deputy minister for railways and later moved over to commerce.
During the Janata Party rule, he was one of the Congress general secretaries. When Indira Gandhi returned to power in 1980, he was made minister of state for shipping and transport and then supply and rehabilitation (independent charge).
Subsequently, he was elevated to Cabinet rank as
parliamentary affairs minister, sports and works and housing.
After Indira Gandhi's assassination, he was appointed home
minister in the Rajiv Gandhi Cabinet.
Despite his spectacular rise at the Centre, Singh had to undergo several tribulations time and again.
He was excommunicated from the Sikh Panth for his role in rebuilding a 'sarkari' Akal Takht after Operation Blue Star. He finally had to undergo the 'punishment' of cleaning the devotees's utensils and shoes at the Golden Temple for being taken back into the faith.
As home minister, his 'compromise' on the Ayodhya issue -- he allowed the saffron brigade to take shilanyas (bricks inscribed with Ram's name) to the disputed site --
annoyed both the Hindus and the Muslims for different reasons, according to political analysts.
Tell us what you think of this report