Patna: It’s his second tryst with the BJP. The first one happened in 1990, when as an IAS officer, he arrested BJP stalwart LK Advani - the then supremo of BJP – from Samastipur in Bihar. Now, 26 years down the line, he is sitting in the same BJP camp. This time as a minister. Life has come a full circle for bureaucrat-turned-politician Raj Kumar Singh.
This is his first plunge into politics, his first term as a parliamentarian, and here he is –in the much prized MOS Power’s chair, in an independent capacity.
A 1975-batch IAS officer from the Bihar cadre, Singh has earned laurels throughout his illustrious career, in whatever capacity he has served. The most talked about was when in 1991, then Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Yadav ordered him to air-dash to Samastipur and arrest the man on a mission, LK Advani, midway on his much talked about Somnath to Ayodhya Rath Yatra.
Advani was onboard the Rajdhani Express and was entering Bihar through Dhanbad – a part of then undivided Bihar. Later, it was decided to apprehend him at Rohtas, when the train would reach there.
Finally, after weighing all political fallouts, Lalu ordered Singh to take a chopper to Samastipur to execute the arrest order of Advani. The orders were executed flawlessly and Advani was arrested from the circuit house of Samastipur and taken to Masanjor guest house in Dumka to be kept in isolation.
As fate would have it, the man who once rubbed BJP’s big man the wrong way, will now rub shoulders with him as a minister. Singh is known for his no-nonsense attitude, a man who left his footprints everywhere he served.
He is credited with turnaround of Bihar’s roads during Nitish’s first tenure as chief minister. Singh served as the principal secretary of Department of Roads & turned Bihar’s potholed roads into ones that were at least motorable.
Singh later moved to Delhi on central deputation and served in the Ministry of Defence Production. There, he red-flagged the Tatra-BEML deals. As union home secretary, he was instrumental in sending 2008 Mumbai terror suspect Kasab to the gallows.
He also embarrassed the UPA regime by being vocal against Sushil Kumar Shinde and P Chidambaram over interference in Delhi police postings and the Afzal Guru controversies respectively. Known as an expert on internal security matters, he was instrumental in the crackdown on terror and naxalism under the UPA regime.
As his career as a bureaucrat came to an end, Singh joined the BJP & contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Arrah, Bihar, defeating his nearest rival by over 1.35 lakhs votes. Now, three years down the line, here he is shaking hands with the President as the minister for power. Going by his track record, ministry of power will be the ministry to watch for, for action and surprises.