One of the inclusions in the Centre’s Narendra Modi government as a minister on Sunday was of former home secretary Raj Kumar Singh or popularly known as RK Singh.
RK Singh had joined the BJP just before the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 and successfully contested from Arrah. Since his election as the first time MP, Singh has been very vocal. His comments just before the Bihar elections alleging that his own party was accepting Rs 2 crore to grant an assembly ticket had caused huge embarrassment to the saffron party leadership.
As a bureaucrat he had shot to fame when he arrested LK Advani during the BJP stalwart’s ‘Ram Rath’ rolled on unhindered from Ayodhya on way to Somnath in October 1990.
BJP was then propping up the VP Singh government and arresting Advani could have led to its fall and set off a chain of violence at the instruction of the then chief minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Singh had halted the rath yatra in Samastipur and arrested Advani, prompting the BJP to withdraw support to Singh’s National Front government and resulting in its collapse.
The event paved the way for the emergence of the saffron party as a formidable force on the country’s political firmament.
Ironically, he later became a joint secretary in the union home ministry when Advani headed it.
Singh, widely acknowledged as a no-nonsense officer, had a distinguished four-decade career as an IAS officer before he decided to take the political plunge in 2013 by joining the BJP. A year later, he won the Lok Sabha election from Arrah.
“It is a challenge for me but I am used to challenges. The party and the prime minister have shown confidence in me and I am thankful to them,” he told PTI.
Singh, 64, said his predecessor in the Power Ministry, Piyush Goyal, did a commendable job in the last three years and that would enable him inherit a well-oiled machinery to work with.
Singh, a 1975 batch IAS officer, has served both in Bihar and at the Centre in different capacities, including secretary, defence production, in the UPA government.
He headed the Bihar government’s departments of home, industries and public works, and was also the district magistrate of Patna. He is known for his contributions to the modernisation of the state police and prisons, and laying down a framework for disaster management.
It was during the tenure of Singh as the Union home secretary that 26/11 Mumbai attack terrorist Ajmal Kasab and Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru were hanged.
Once again it was during his tenure as the Union Home Secretary that the term Hindu terror was coined. He had famously linked the involvement of RSS with terror activities across India.
In January 2013, during the UPA rule, Singh had famously said, “Yes during investigations of Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and [Ajmer] Dargah Sharif blasts, we have found
names of at least 10 persons who have been associated with the RSS at some point or the other.”
However, his induction in the Modi ministry shows he has made up with the party leadership, which has rewarded him for his administrative acumen. A well-read man, Singh studied English literature at St.
Stephens College, Delhi, and got a bachelors degree in law thereafter. He also studied at the RVB Delft University in the Netherlands.
Before joining the IAS, he was in the Indian Police Service, which he served for a year.