Manpal Singh was a minister of state with independent charge looking after four important departments. It was 30 years ago under the NDTewari government. Three decades later, he is again serving as a minister of state in the Akhilesh Yadav ministry, this time with a demotion as he does not have an independent charge.
Working as his cabinet minister’s subordinate, 75-year-old Singh, who is minister of state for transport, today is merely dealing with files related to UP State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) drivers and conductors. Singh is six-time MLA and the Samajwadi Party’s lone vicepresident.
The recent reshuffle of council of ministers saw one more politician being inducted as minister of state for transport, further shrinking the space for him in the department.
Significantly, this time Nitin Agrawal (29) was also administered oath as minister of state along with a dozen other MLAs, most of them first-timers. Nitin belongs to the third generation of MLAs who rub shoulders with Singh in the Assembly. Nitin’s grandfather Srish Chandra Agrawal and later father Naresh Agrawal have been MLAs with Singh.
Enjoying an uncontroversial political career and impeccable conduct, Singh, an advocate by profession and backward (Lodh) by caste, first rose to be a minister of state in the ND Tewari government in 1984. As a minister with independent charge, he headed four departments -- jail, political pension, home guard and civil defence. Some 20 years later, he was again made minister of state by Mulayam Singh Yadav. Though he did not have an independent charge, he had an important department secondary education under him and enjoyed ample space and liberty, reporting to the chief minister only as there was no cabinet minister over him.
“One gets promotions with experience and seniority. The story however has been the other way round for this old-timer representing the Lodh dominated Kasganj assembly constituency,” said a leader not wanting to be named.