Induction of controversial independent MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya as cabinet minister in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday raised eyebrows but new chief minister Akhilesh Yadav defended it claiming that the criminal cases against him were politically motivated.
"You know that who slapped maximum cases against Raja Bhaiyya and if you ask with dates you will come to know in which dates these cases were slapped," Akhilesh told reporters in reply to a question on Raja Bhaiyya being made a cabinet minister shortly after he was sworn in as UP's youngest chief minister.
"Wasn't he jailed by the old government," he said, in a reference to the Mayawati government's action against the independent MLA from Kunda in Pratapgarh district.
Raja Bhaiyya has eight declared criminal cases, including attempt to murder, dacoity and abduction, against him.
During poll campaign and also after helping SP craft a decisive victory in the assembly elections, Akhilesh has made clear his intentions to break away from the past tag of goonda raj during SP's previous rule in the country's most populous state.
Congress alleged there were several tainted ministers in the new government.
"Akhilesh Yadav is of progessive thinking, but it has to be seen whether he can change the criminal friendly face of the SP or the party changes him... even people are waiting to see the outcome," Congress chief spokesman Akhilesh Singh said.