New Delhi: `Political untouchability` is a
term that does not figure in the lexicon of Jat leader and
Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh as seen from his past
alliances with parties of all hues which have a stake in Uttar
Pradesh like the Congress, BJP, SP and BSP.
Singh, who took oath today as a Cabinet Minister in the
UPA government and is tipped to get the Aviation portfolio,
has twice before been part of the Central government. He
became a Cabinet minister for the first time in the V P Singh
government in 1989 when he served as the industry minister.
The 72-year-old MP from Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh became a
Cabinet minister for the second time when he was given the
food portfolio from February 1995 to May 1996 in the Narasimha
Rao government. He had merged his party with the Congress
His third stint as a Cabinet minister was in the BJP-led
NDA government when he became the agriculture minister from
July 2001 to May 2003.
Singh, who has a strong political legacy as he is the son
of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh, has always
capitalised on the loyal Jat votes. He has also nurtured chief
ministerial ambitions with his demand for a separate Harit
Pradesh in western UP.
He was quick to welcome UP Chief Minister Mayawati`s
recent proposal of dividing the state into four parts though
the two leaders do not see eye-to-eye on other issues.
Singh, a computer engineer by profession who worked for
15 years in the US before returning to India in 1986 to enter
politics, has won Lok Sabha elections six times and lost only
once in 1998. In 1996, he won on a Congress ticket.