Raman Singh’s profileDecember 8th, 2008 - 6:11 pm ICT by IANS
Raipur, Dec 8 (IANS) It was a quirk of fate that Raman Singh became chief minister of Chhattisgarh after Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) star leader from the state, Dilip Singh Judeo, got trapped in a cash-on-camera scam during the run-up to Nov 2003 assembly polls.Singh, 56, an Ayurvedic doctor by profession, has never looked back since then. He proved to his party and detractors alike that he may have got the top job by accident, but deserved it too.
Political analysts call Singh “Mr. Clean” and say he single-handedly helped the party retain power in the country’s ninth largest state in size, which has been plagued by Maoist terror, claiming 1,100 lives since 2004.
Born Oct 15, 1952, at Thathapur village in Kawardha district now (Kabirdham district), Singh is known as a fine human-being but a weak administrator. His detractors say he had no grip over the state’s bureaucracy.
Even his critics praise him for his humility. “He respects the feelings of everyone and never passes adverse remarks against anyone in any situation,” said a critic from within the BJP.
Singh’s long-time associate Santosh Pandey of Kawardha district said: “You will learn something all the time you are with him. He is a good listener and is not even remotely arrogant.”
“I don’t think any person can ever claim to have been hurt by him; that’s why he is a rare political personality with limited critics,” Pandey said.
Singh is a shy person with mild manners.
A southpaw, Singh has been a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist from his early political days. He was elected to undivided Madhya Pradesh assembly twice before being elected to the Lok Sabha in 1999 from the Rajnandgaon constituency, defeating Congress veteran and former chief minister Motilal Vora.
He was appointed union minister of state for commerce and industry in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government Oct 1999.
Singh, who holds Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) and Bachelor in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (B.A.M.S) degrees, has his task cut out to contain the Maoists who run a de facto administration in the state’s forested southern interiors since 1980.
The other challenge for him is to put into place a policy to improve the quality of life of nearly half of the state’s 20.08 million population living below the poverty line.