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Home > News > Report

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.

Nevertheless, his tenure ended ignominiously when in the Assembly elections of 2002, the BJP suffered its worst defeat, falling to the third slot behind the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

The Rediff Interview/ Rajnath Singh (2002)

As no party commanded a clear majority, the Assembly was placed in suspended animation for two months before the BJP and the BSP again struck an alliance to form the government under the leadership of Mayawati with the saffron party as the junior partner.

With no role for him in state politics, as he had steadfastly opposed the alliance, Mr Singh again shifted his focus to the Centre.

He was inducted in the Vajpayee government as Agriculture Minister in May 2003 after the then incumbent Ajit Singh parted ways with the National Democratic Alliance and held the position till the ruling alliance's rout in the 2004 General Elections.

Since then, Mr Singh, a Rajya Sabha member, has held important party assignments. Party in-charge of Jharkhand, he was instrumental in formulating the electoral strategy that sawNDA return to power in the tribal state after the state's first elections in February 2005.

Married to Savitri Singh on June 5, 1971, Mr Singh has two sons and a daughter.


UNI


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