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Agra's Raja bites dust after Akhilesh removes him from Cabinet


It could be called one of the worst situations in politics that happened to UP Cabinet Minister Raja Mahendra Aridaman Singh, who lost his ministry before the Saturday cabinet reshuffle in the state, right when his constituency Bah was having Panchayat polls.

Consequently, most of the vote that was destined to fall in the Samajwadi Party boxes, got diverted to the opposition and if analysts are to be believed, the party could be witnessing one of the biggest poll debacles in the history of Panchayat elections in Bah constituency.

Talking to India Today on phone following his unexpected removal from the ministry, the Prince of Bah appeared disturbed and said that he will decide on a course of action once he received a written communique from the state Secretariat. For now, he said, I have cancelled my Lucknow visit which was planned immediately after the ballot boxes were sealed in Bah. Analysts believe that Raja's closeness of the BJP was the principle reason for his removal without any prior indication. Also, the local reputation of the minister had gone from bad to worse in the past few months. Locals were often heard commenting that they were willing to elect a dog as their MLA, but they won't vote for the Raja. Aridaman Singh had failed to capture the Agra Rural (Fatehpur Sikri) parliamentary seat for his wife Pakshalika Singh in 2014 who had also contested the assembly elections from Kheragarh seat in 2012.

Also, the recent meeting of Aridaman Singh and Rajnath Singh on the premise of Aridaman demanding a BJP ticket for his son Tripurdaman Singh in the 2017 assembly polls could be a reason for his sudden removal. A local Samajwadi Party leader said that there were several ministers in the list of party Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had been unable to create a ground team for the party in their constituencies. Raja Aridaman Singh was one of those ministers whose working had failed to impress the party supremo, although he used to be a close confidante of the party leadership during the 2012 assembly polls, when both he and his wife had got tickets from the party for Bah and Kheragarh constituencies respectively.

Interestingly, Raja Aridaman Singh is no stranger to the 'Aayaram-Gayaram' style of politics, having been an MLA from Janta Dal, BJP and SP. During the BJP and SP tenures, he was a cabinet minister. It now remains to be seen if he prefers to stay on in the party after this embarrassing removal from ministry or chooses to return to the BJP from which he had originally defected to join the SP.

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