After Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and former chief ministers Mayawati and Kalyan Singh, it is the turn of Raghuraj Pratap Singh, alias Raja Bhaiyya, to become the most protected politician of the state.
The chief ministers all enjoyed Z-plus NSG cover from the Centre. Mulayam’s minister number 60’s private army of bodyguards will be supplemented by ‘‘Z grade security’’ from the state government.
Translated, it means 35 AK-47 totting UP policemen on duty round-the-clock in his houses and bullet-proof cars with drivers. They will work in three shifts as escort, personal security officers and runners.
‘‘We have received a faxed order today from the UP Police Security Headquarters, which says the security cover comes into place with immediate effect,’’ Pratapgarh SP Shailendra Pratap Singh confirmed to The Indian Express on telephone.
The state government defends the decision by citing security threat to the controversial Thakur MLA from Pratapgarh’s Kunda, who is currently the minister for Food and Civil Supplies.
Without divulging who poses threat to Raja Bhaiya, the UP Principal Secretary (Home) Alok Sinha says: ‘‘The state committee regarding security matters has recommended that there is a grave threat to Raja Bhaiyya’s life. Even the Intelligence Bureau has given sanction to the Z grade cover.’’
The minister himself has been vocal about the threat to his life from political enemies — mostly former chief minister Mayawati — in whose regime he was put behind bars under POTA charges.
But this account leaves out the enemies he made in his status as a history sheeter. There are already three dozen criminal cases, including murder and kidnap, pending against him. A police raid in his sprawling Kunda palace had revealed a cache of arms and human skulls.
Raja Bhaiyya’s Kunda home is already guarded by his private army. But nowadays, the minister spends most of his time in Lucknow, where he has a huge bungalow named Bhadri Palace on the prime Shahnajaf road.