Raghuraj Singh alias Rajja Bhaiyya is called noor-e-nazar (literally, 'light of the eyes’, figuratively, apple of the eyes) of the Beti riyasat. When Rajja Bhaiyya got elected to the UP assembly in 1993, not only did he make a new record for the largest margin, but he was also then the youngest MLA in the 12th state assembly. Since then his victory procession had been going on unhindered. The margin of his wins had also been increasing. Till chief minister Mayawati stepped in, jailed him under POTA, and also accused him of plotting to murder her with Mafia help.
Rajja Bhaiyya’s primary education was at Allahabad CMP College. His father Raja Uday Pratap Singh was not in favour of providing higher education to Raghuraj because he believed that ‘highly educated people are cowards.’ But due to the pressure from his mother’s family, Rajja Bhaiyya was brought to Lucknow. Hot-headed from student years, he was first booked in 1989 under section 147, 148, 149 and 307, although his name had been whispered about in a murder case in Pratapgah way back in 1982.
On July 6, 1995, it was the Dilerganj carnage which spread his notoriety beyond the boundaries of the district. It all started with 'rumours' of rape of a woman from a certain community, which retaliated by laying siege to Dilerganj, dominated by the other community. In the firing that ensued, women and infants were among those killed. Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is now fighting for Rajja Bhaiyya against his POTA arrest, had not let the assembly run for a week, in protest (In 1997 Rajja Bhaiyya came to the rescue of BJP by helping split the Congress and the Samajwadi Party, for which he was rewarded with a ministerial berth in the mammoth ministry).
Today there are 35 cases against him, out of which 14 were filed after incurring Mayawati’s wrath, although he had even earlier been charged under the Gangster Act and almost all the sections of IPC. The lake spread cross 35 bighas in Beti and Bhadari is the stuff of horrifying and mysterious legend and folklore among the people in Pratapgarh and Kunda. If the stories are to be believed, crocodiles were kept in the lake and anyone opposing the feudals became a meal for the crocodiles. The government has now declared it as Ambedkar Sanctuary.
But people in the district make contradictory statements. On one hand they accuse Rajja Bhaiyya of exploitation, on the other they say that cutting trees is the gravest crime in the riyasat. After all if his hobbies include rearing horses and dogs, flying airplanes and helicopters, zipping around at high speeds in imported cares, they also include granting huge amounts as largesse to the poor for weddings.
Translated from Outlook Saptahik, dated February 17, 2003