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Raja Bhaiya to be re-inducted in Akhilesh ministry

Last updated on: October 10, 2013 21:25 IST

Controversial Uttar Pradesh politician Raghuraj Pratap Singh -- better known as Raja Bhaiya -- who was dropped from the Akhilesh Yadav ministry, is all set to be re-inducted into the government on Friday.

A special swearing-in ceremony has been organised at 10.15 am at Lucknow’s Raj Bhawan. Two others are also likely to be sworn in along with Raja Bhaiya.

The state government rushed a state plane to fly back State Governor B L Joshi, who was holidaying in Jaipur, his native town.

Raja Bhaiya’s re-induction was a writing on the wall on the very day the trial court gave him a clean chit on the charges of his suspected involvement in the killing of a UP deputy superintendent of police Zia-ul Haque in his home town Kunda earlier this year.

And earlier this week, when Samajwadi Party-led government’s senior most minister Azam Khan called on Raja Bhaiya at his Lucknow residence, the picture became even clearer that the feudal lord-turned-politician Raja Bhaiya was staging an early come back to the portals of power.

Azam Khan was stated to have been instrumental in pushing Raja Bhaiya’s exit from the ministry after wild accusations came from different quarters demanding his ouster. Raja Bhiaya was then holding two key portfolios -- food and civil supplies and prisons.

Evidently, the Samajwadi Party felt the need for his re-induction as his ouster had already earned the displeasure of the Thakur community for the ruling dispensation.

With the Bhartya Janata Party headed by former UP chief minister Rajnath Singh, who was out to woo the Thakur community, Samajwadi Party leadership was already getting restive. Barely a week back, the BJP chief had managed to win over the elder son of former prime minister Chandrashekhar, a prominent leader representing the community.

While the younger son Neeraj was well entrenched with the Samajwadi Party, the elder one Pankaj fell to Rajnath Singh’s bait and joined the BJP.

The BJP chief was understood to have thrown the bait at Raja Bhaiya too. Knowing his old affiliation with the BJP -- which gave Raja Bhaiya his first ministerial stint in the nineties, the Samajwadi Party leadership was not prepared to take any chances.

SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav persuaded Azam Khan to personally call on Raja Bhaiya, who had publicly been critical of Raja. The idea was to mollify the erstwhile prince of Kunda, who now stood on a clean slate as far as his alleged involvement in the killing of the Muslim police officer was concerned.

With Akhilesh government’s graph dipping fast and its Muslim vote bank too getting eroded in the aftermath of the Muzaffarnagar riots, it was time for Mulayam to act in the hope of retrieving the party’s Thakur support base. After all, every political party believes that caste would continue to play a major role at the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, where UP’s 80 seats could make all the difference in shaping the country’s political destiny.

Image: Raja Bhaiya

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow