An astonishing number of criminal cases to his name is hardly a qualification to join a cabinet. But Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav took the gamble when he inducted Kun-da MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya into his government despite the latter’s notorious track record. The gamble does not seem to be paying off with the wife of the police office Zia-ul-Haq, who was killed at Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, accusing Raja Bhaiya of the murder. He has now resigned. Predictably, the BSP supremo Mayawati has demanded the imposition of President’s Rule in the state. Reacting to her demand, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said Mayawati’s comments were “a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.” He is right indeed: like the BSP, the SP too has many secrets to hide, and now with the resignation of Raja Bhaiya, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav, have a lot to answer for.
The obvious question is this: even though the SP came back to power in March last year on the promise of clean governance, why did the CM give Raja Bhaiya a cabinet post? The five-time MLA has a host of criminal cases against him from robbery to terrorism. The affidavit Raja Bhaiya filed before the polls showed that he had eight declared criminal cases, including attempt to murder, dacoity and abduction, against him and one under the UP Gangster Act. At the time he was assigned his portfolio, he had 48 cases registered against him. Moreover, it is a bit too late in the day for Mula-yam Singh Yadav to act surprised and angry at the turn of events at Pratapgarh: when Raja Bhaiya was arrested on December 20, 2010, for attacking a BSP candidate during a local election, he warned the senior distrcit officials carrying out the arrests of dire consequences. With this kind of political sanction for violence against government officials, Pratapgarh was waiting to happen.
The Uttar Pradesh chief minister has suspended eight policemen for running away from the scene when Haq was attacked. This and accpeting Raja Bhaiya’s resignation are at best token gestures. Only if he manages to clean up his administration will we know that he means business.