Raghuraj Pratap Singh: A raja who is kingmaker
TNN | Mar 16, 2012, 01.57AM IST
Raghuraj Pratap Singh, better known as Raja Bhaiya, has been an MLA
from Kunda since 1993. He was 26 when he won his political spurs,
first proving his usefulness to his political masters in 1997 when he
split the BSP to help form the BJP government in UP. A majority of
MLAs who defected from BSP were thakurs.
In May 2002, Mayawati's BSP emerged as the single largest party and
she formed the ministry that lasted a year. She had her revenge by
booking him under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) after police
found one AK-56 assault rifle, 36 cartridges, two wireless sets and
800 gm explosive from his palace in January 2003.
There were 44 criminal cases against him then, including extortion,
land-grabbing (which included a lake owned by the government),
misusing public property, and threatening public servants. He was
packed off to jail by the Mayawati government.
His father, Udai Pratap Singh, and cousin, Akshay Pratap Singh, were
also charged under POTA. However, all this had a flip side: he assumed
an iconic status among UP's thakurs. The SP, looking to woo thakurs,
saw an opportunity in supporting Raja Bhaiya in his hour of crisis.
Within 30 minutes of Mulayam Singh Yadav's coming to power in August
2003, charges under POTA against Raja Bhaiya were dropped. He got bail
and was made minister for food and civil supplies. All this paid SP
handsomely in 2004 when it won 35 Lok Sabha seats.
However, Raja Bhaiya had to resign within months when the Supreme
Court quashed the Mulayam government's order of removing POTA. Later,
when POTA was repealed in 2004, Raja Bhaiya was re-inducted in
Mulayam's cabinet. The police officer, RS Pandey, who had raided his
house, later died in a road accident, a case being investigated by the
Action against him strengthened Maya's dalit base because low castes
have historically been exploited by thakurs. It also helped Maya get
brahmin support in 2007 since they are opposed to thakur dominance in
There were 44 criminal cases against Raja Bhaiya in 2003, including
extortion,land-grabbing (which included a lake owned by the
government), misusing public property, and threatening public
servants. He was packed off to jail by the Mayawati government
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