New Delhi: A staunch loyalist of Narendra Modi since the days he was the chief minister of Gujarat, BJP leader Giriraj Singh has seen his political stock rise dramatically in the last decade.
Mr Singh, 66, who has won the Begusarai seat in Bihar defeating CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar by a margin of over four lakh votes, belongs to the influential Bhumihar community — earlier supporters of the Congress, but since the Mandal era forming the BJP’s backbone in the state.
He had been associated with the Sangh Parivar since his days as a student of Magadh University during which he was an active member of the ABVP. He, however, remained in political wilderness until his election to the state legislative council in 2002 and his induction into the Nitish Kumar cabinet three years later.
After it became clear that Mr Modi would be the Prime Ministerial candidate and Mr Kumar parted ways, Mr Singh — who had lost his ministerial berth in the state — was rewarded with a Lok Sabha ticket from Nawada, a seat he won while earning the ignominy of having been banned from campaigning in Bihar and Jharkhand by the Election Commis-sion, which took exception to his pronouncement that those opposed to his leader deserved to be sent to Pakistan.
Many of his utterances verged on Hindutva hardline as he repeatedly raised the issue of rising Muslim population in and underscored that a decline in the proportion of Hindus in a region invariably led to social strife. He went against the government line of awaiting the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya.