Lucknow: New Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday defended his move to induct independent MLA from Kunda, Raghuraj Pratap Singh or Raja Bhaiyya, in his Cabinet.
There are eight pending criminal cases against Raja Bhaiya, according to reports. The charges include attempt to murder, voluntarily causing grievous hurt, kidnapping or abducting in order to murder dacoity and illegal payments in connection with an election.
However, addressing his first press conference as the chief minister of the state, Akhilesh said the cases against Raja Bhaiya were politically motivated.
"If you check the dates of cases lodged against Raja Bhaiya, you will know who is behind him," Akhilesh said.
Raja Bhaiya has been a minister before in a Mulayam Singh Yadav government. The MLA was arrested in 2002 on charges of kidnapping and was later jailed by the then Mayawati government under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), charges which were dropped the moment Mulayam Singh Yadav came to power in 2003.
The inclusion of Raja Bhaiya in the Cabinet came as a surprise, given the young chief minister's efforts to distance Samajwadi Party from the past tag of 'goonda raj'.
- with PTI inputs