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Rajnath Singh: A brief history
January 02, 2006 11:31 IST
Rajnath Singh on Monday crowned an eventful and turbulent political career by taking over the reins of the Bharatiya Janata Party from Mr Lal Kishenchand Advani.
Born on July 10, 1951, at Bhabhaura village, Chandauli district (Uttar Pradesh), Mr Singh, an MSc in Physics from Gorakhpur University and a teacher by profession, was first elected to the UP Assembly in 1977. He was made the president of the party's youth wing, the All India Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha in 1988 and he headed the organisation till 1991.
A member of the UP Legislative Council from 1988 to 1994, he served as Education Minister in the Kalyan Singh government from 1991 till its dismissal in December 1992 in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition.
A member of the Rajya Sabha from April 1994, he served on the Committee on Industry (1994-96), the Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Agriculture (1994-97), Committee on Human Resources Development Member (1996-97), the Business Advisory Committee and the Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Home Affairs (1998-99). He was also the party's Chief Whip in the Upper House (1995-96).
Appointed president of the UP state BJP in March 1997, Mr Singh held the post till November 1999, when he was inducted into the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government as Minister for Surface Transport.
Considered one of the favourites to succeed Mr Kalyan Singh as UP Chief Minister in 1999, his chances came to naught after the BJP leadership noted that the selection of any one of the three stalwarts in the fray could be damaging and plumped for a compromise candidate. Veteran leader Ram Prakash Gupta, who had been out of active politics for a long time, was selected.
However, Rajnath Singh had the last laugh when he was selected to take over as the new Chief Minister, after the Gupta ministry had not even completed a year in office, and saw its tenure filled with speculation of how long Mr Gupta would continue in the post.
Prior to taking over as the new Chief Minister on October 28, 2000, Mr Singh sounded confident about his chances. He told media persons that the leadership changes or the fact that his government would be left with a reduced majority after the creation of Uttaranchal would have "no adverse effect."
"Even if we have the required majority by only one member in the House, there is no cause for worry," he asserted.
The Rediff Interview/ Rajnath Singh (2002)