Monday, April 14, 2014

Bihar ex-top cop's journey from khaki to khadi

BIHARSHARIF: Among a few retired bureaucrats in the poll fray in Bihar, Ashish Ranjan Sinha is the only retired IPS officer. The former director general of police (DGP) is trying hard to pull out all the stops to win on a Congress ticket from Nalanda, the home turf of chief minister Nitish Kumar.

Hitting the dusty roads in the interiors of Nalanda on jeep, motorcycle and foot, Sinha is in a hurry to reach all the corners of the constituency spread over seven assembly segments. On Sunday, he toured Rajgir, Andaus and Hilsa, among other places. He returned to his hotel here at 4am and slipped out again at 9am on Monday.

Sinha, a 1972 batch IPS officer of Bihar cadre, was DGP when assembly elections were held in 2005 and Nitish Kumar became the chief minister. Sinha was quite happy for two reasons; one that the most peaceful election had been conducted and, secondly, Nitish was to head the government. Both Sinha and Nitish belong to kurmi caste and Nalanda district. But the cordial relations between the two did not last long as the CM shunted him to the DGP (homeguards) post where he retired in May, 2008.

"I was the first kurmi IPS officer of Nalanda and still hold the record of being the first kurmi DGP in India," Sinha told TOI on Monday. "My hands are clean and I never faced any charge even though thousands of constables were posted under my signature," said Sinha in white kurta pyjama. He served as DGP for less than three years and turned close to Nitish's archrival Lalu Prasad and travelled with him in 2010 assembly election to campaign for RJD.

However, his journey from khaki to khadi is quite interesting. If he is to be believed, Sinha never sought ticket from Congress and he was not even its primary member. "One fine morning while strolling in the garden, I received a call from Delhi telling that Congress has selected me to contest from Nalanda and the caller (he did not reveal his identity) advised me to join the party. I was taken aback but went to Sadaquat Ashram (Congress headquarters) in Patna the same evening and got the ticket next day," revealed Sinha, adding that Lalu might have discussed the issue with the Congress high command about him.

It is said that Lalu wanted to field Sinha from Nalanda but under the seat-sharing agreement, the seat went to Congress. An undeterred Lalu prevailed on the Congress leadership to accommodate Sinha by inducting him in the party.

The former top cop whose wife Anita Sinha, a senior lawyer of Patna high court, and daughter Reema Sinha, who has come from Delhi, are working round the clock for his victory. "I am fully confident of my victory and getting support of all sections of society since the people see me as an upright officer and know I will be by their side when they need me," said Sinha who belongs to Sundi Bigha village under Ekangarsarai PS in Nalanda district.

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