UP Elections: Raja Bhaiya Started His Election Campaign Today From Ayodhya Followed By 'Jan Seva Sankalp Yatra'
MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh, who has won six assembly elections in a row as an independent from the same seat, began his election campaign from Ayodhya, today.
Coalition can happen but no merger with any political party will take place, says Jansatta Dal founder Singh.
Raghuraj Pratap Singh, popularly known as Raja Bhaiya, will be starting his political campaign after visiting Ayodhya today (31 August). Singh is an Independent MLA from Kunda seat of Pratapgarh who had formed his own political outfit Jansatta Dal in 2018. Previously, he had served as a cabinet minister in Akhilesh Yadav-led state government.
Singh is scheduled to reach Ayodhya for ‘darshan’ of Ram Lalla and afterwards, he will start his 'Jan Seva Sankalp Yatra'. This journey will go through Pratapgarh via Sultanpur and Ayodhya. He said that he would seek the blessings of people to strengthen his party by going among the people through this yatra.
“After the darshan of Ram Lalla and worship at Hanumangarhi in Ayodhya, the state-wide yatra will start. Whatever work I did in my life was done with the blessings of Lord Shri Ram. That’s why we are going to Ayodhya,” he was quoted as saying by News18.
The 51-year-old Kunda MLA said that Jansatta Dal will not merge with any political party.
“Coalition can happen but no merger will take place. We will let you know as soon as something like this happens. You should wait a little to know whether there is an alliance with any party or not, everything will be in front of you,” he said.
Raja Bhaiya wields considerable influence over five assembly constituencies in the Pratapgarh region. Hailing from a royal family, Singh was reportedly the first one to directly enter politics. He is the only active politician to have won six assembly elections in a row as an independent from the same seat.
He is considered a strongman in the region, with several controversies in his record. An FIR was filed against him by a dissident Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Puran Singh Bundela of alleged kidnapping and threatening in 2002; Singh was booked under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). He, along with his father and cousin, was arrested. His bail plea was rejected many times. This was when Mayawati-led BSP was ruling UP.
However, within an hour of coming to power, Mulayam Singh (SP), in 2003, tried to drop all POTA charges against him.
Singh was accused by police officer RS Pandey, who led the raid on his house, of having launched a vendetta against him. Eventually, RS Pandey was killed in a road accident, which many consider to be a preplanned murder. Another government functionary, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Zia Ul Haq, was killed during clashes between villagers and police in Kunda in 2013. His wife had accused the henchmen of Raja Bhaiya of murdering Haq.
However, the CBI, in its final report, gave a clean chit to Raja Bhaiya. The Kunda MLA says that all the cases against him were politically motivated.
In a 2019 interview, Singh said, "People think it is the government that acquitted me. But that was not the case. I was acquitted by the specially designated POTA court in 2006."
On nationalism issue, Singh said in the same interview that every Indian should be a nationalist and "if he or she isn't, then they shouldn't be Indians".
"Every Indian needs to keep our civilisation and culture alive, and national interest before self is what nationalism means to me," he said.
Raja Bhaiya's Jansatta Dal has also taken an unconventional stance on the issues of Dalits and reservation. In the interview, he clarified that he isn't against reservations for SCs and STs, but he wants the reservation benefits to reach those who truly need it.
"Children of Dalit IAS and IPS officers must be excluded from the reservation benefits so that the benefits can be extended to poorer Dalit families.. There is no level playing field when the children of poorer Dalit families have to compete with the children of IAS IPS officers," he said.
He further added that there should be no reservation in promotions.
He said that the 1998 amendments to the SC/ST Act to make it more stringent was unnecessary, "especially since no Dalit leader or organisation across the country asked for the act to be made more stringent."
"The whole idea of arresting a person first, and later probing the allegations against him go against the idea of justice," he said.
Less than six months remain in the announcement of 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls. Various political parties, including BJP, SP, BSP and Congress, have started their preparations. In Uttar Pradesh's fragmented politics, small outfits like Singh's can come to play an important role in the arithmetic of seats. In the last assembly elections, however, BJP threw up a surprise, grabbing the majority of seats for itself.
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