Six-time independent UP MLA Raja Bhaiya says he will float new party opposed to reservations in promotions
Controversial politician and six-time independent MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh, also known as Raja Bhaiya, on Friday said he will float a new party.
Lucknow: Controversial politician and six-time independent MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh, also known as Raja Bhaiya, on Friday said he will float a new party opposed to reservation in promotions and the draconian provisions of the SC/ST Act.
The former minister who now represents Kunda Assembly constituency said the new party will have 'Jansatta' (people's power) as its prefix.
Singh said the Election Commission has been approached for the registration of the new party as "Jansatta Party", "Jansatta Loktantrik Party" or "Jansatta Dal".
The group, which will hold a rally soon, and is yet to decide on contesting the coming Lok Sabha polls, he told reporters.
Singh has been a minister in state governments headed by Akhilesh Yadav, Kalyan Singh and Rajnath Singh.
He has faced 48 cases and has been the state's prisons minister in the Samajwadi Party government.
"Today, I have completed 25 years in active politics. This is my sixth term as an independent MLA," Raja Bhaiya said.
He said that among the issues that his party will raise is the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, which he said has "draconian provisions".
The apparent reference were to provisions related to immediate arrests under the Act, which were diluted by the Supreme Court but later restored through a Bill in Parliament.
"Going by the fundamental principle of equality, whether it is a heinous crime like rape or murder, Dalits are being treated differently and given compensation by the government while the general public and the upper castes are left out," he said.
"No investigation is required under the SC/ST Act before an arrest is made," he said. "This should change."
"We are also against reservation in promotion on caste basis," he said. "It should be on the basis of capability. This is our clear stand."
Asked if his party aimed to woo the upper castes that may be unhappy with the ruling BJP, he said he has the support of people belonging to different castes and sections of society.
Raja Bhaiya is believed to have a considerable influence among the upper caste Thakur voters.
In November 2002, the Mayawati government had slapped charges under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) against Raja Bhaiya. But in 2003, within minutes of the Mulayam Singh Yadav taking over as the chief minister, all charges against him were dropped.
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