It has been a long journey for Shailendra Singh, former tough cop who is now a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, social activist and champion of the farmer’s cause.
Singh resigned as deputy superintendent of police, Special Task Force, in 2004 after he fell out with the then Samajwadi Party (SP) government over gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s arrest.
Singh had arrested Ansari and was about to impose the Prevention of Terrorist Act (POTA) on him when he was allegedly pressured by his political bosses to set the mafioso free.
Unwilling to give in to pressure, Singh quit his job, stirring a debate in the state over the politician-mafia nexus.
He unsuccessfully contested the 2004 Lok Sabha election from Varanasi as an independent candidate.
He lost the 2009 Lok Sabha poll on the Congress ticket from Chandauli. In the 2012 assembly elections, he tried his luck on the Congress ticket from Saiyadraja assembly constituency in Chandauli but lost.
He had an almost seven-year stint in the Congress where he headed the party’s RTI cell for UP. Singh joined the BJP on April 15, 2014.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Singh was in charge of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘war room’ in Varanasi.
Admired for his ability to tackle social issues, he is among the few BJP leaders to interact with Modi whenever he visits his constituency.
The former deputy SP took the right to information (RTI) and public interest litigation (PIL) route to fight corruption.
“After resigning from the police force, I decided to take up social issues via the RTI and PIL route,” Singh told HT.
Singh filed a PIL in the Supreme Court in 2008, seeking details of money spent by the then Mayawati government on constructing Ambedkar memorials in Lucknow. Soon, Singh was arrested in September that year for allegedly ransacking the state information commission office. He said the charge was politically motivated. The former police officer was released on bail by the court of the additional sessions judge which passed strictures against the Mayawati government for the arrest. Singh was in jail for seven days.
Espousing the cause of corruption-free governance, Singh went on to file a PIL at the Allahabad high court in December 2010, this time seeking details of the money spent by the then Uttar Pradesh government on implementing the e-governance project.
Singh is now working to meet the Modi government’s objective of self-employment in the agriculture sector.
He is working closely with farmers in implementing ‘zero budget spiritual farming’ across Uttar Pradesh. The concept is the brainchild of Subhash Palekar, a farmer of Amravati in Maharashtra. This unique method has its origin in ancient Indian farming techniques. A formulation called ‘Jiwamrita’ is at the heart of the technique and nurtures thousands of bacteria essential for healthy crop growth.
“I have divided Uttar Pradesh in eight zones for implementing ‘zero budget spiritual farming’ in the state. To start with, this technique has been introduced to farmers of a village in Barabanki and Mahmudabad in Sitapur district,” said Singh.
“By 2020, it will be implemented across the state,” he said.
“I feel the agriculture sector has the maximum potential for self-employment opportunities for youths,” he said.
The former deputy SP says, “I feel contented with my social work. I have achieved what I wanted to do when I had decided to resign from the job (UP Police).”
Singh is yet to taste electoral success but his political career has evolved in the BJP where he is admired for his prowess to tackle social issues.