Pratapgarh: Controversial Independent legislator Raghuraj Pratap Singh, better known as Raja Bhaiya, and a Samajwadi Party MP and two legislators, were on Sunday arrested for the attempted murder of a local bodies candidate in this Uttar Pradesh district, police said.
"The arrest followed a FIR lodged against 13 people including Raja Bhaiya, Samajwadi Party MP Shailendra Kumar, assembly member Vinod Saroj and legislative council member Akshay Pratap Singh," Pratapgarh Superintendent of Police OP Sagar told a news agency.
"Eleven of them were taken into custody from Kunda town today (Sunday)," he added.
According to the FIR registered by Manoj Shukla, the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) nominee for the local block pramukh poll, Raja Bhaiya and the Samajwadi Party leaders warned him of dire consequences if he did not withdraw his candidature.
"Raja Bhaiya and his henchmen also opened fire on me in an attempt to kill me," Shukla said in his complaint.
The election of block pramukhs is scheduled for Dec 22.
Once the dreaded feudal lord of the erstwhile princely state of Kunda, Raja Bhaiya was earlier also put behind bars during Mayawati`s last regime. Ever since her return to power in May 2007, he remained out of the news.
Reacting sharply to the arrests, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav told reporters in his hometown Saifai that (Chief Minister) Mayawati ordered Raja Bhaiya`s arrest only to prevent a free and fair poll.
"Obviously she wants to create an atmosphere of terror well before the polling date so that her officials can have a field day and use their undue influence," he alleged.
Referring to the arrest of his party MP, Mulayam Singh termed it a "clear cut case of breach of privilege of a member of parliament" and said the local district magistrate and superintendent of police will "have to pay for".
Mulayam`s younger brother Shiv Pal Yadav, who is also the leader of opposition in the state assembly, has given a call for protest demonstrations at all district headquarters across the state Monday.