The news of Samajwadi Party (SP) MLA Mahendra Kumar Singh alias Jheen Babus arrest from a dance bar in Panaji Tuesday did not come as a surprise to his home district of Sitapur.
Goa,along with Kathmandu,has after all been a favourite holiday spot for the 56-year-old legislator who has often found himself in the thick of controversy.
Jheen Babu,it is said in Sitapur,is good at two things organising Navratra celebrations on a grand scale and visiting Goa and Kathmandu every three months. In fact,his supporters eagerly look forward to Navratra when he invites Bhojpuri stars to perform during the festivities.
Jheen Babu started as a political worker under veteran socialist leader Mukhtar Anees but became prominent in Mulayam Singh Yadavs party after 1989 when he married the daughter of senior SP leader Bhagwati Singh. News of the MLAs arrest in Goa came when Bhagwati Singh had just finished celebrating his 81st birthday.
In 1994,Jheen Babu was jailed after he was named in the rape case of a Dalit girl but went on to be acquitted.
His clout in the SP grew after his marriage and his political guru Anees also named him as his successor and fielded him from his seat of Behta in 1996. Jheen Babu has since won all four elections.
Last year,Mulayam is known to have planned to replace Jheen Babu with Zaheer Abbas,the son of Anees,and Abbas had even started campaigning in the area as he was sure about his candidature.
But Jheen Babu apparently used his family connections and Abbas was shifted to Laharpur where he lost and has slipped into oblivion. Jheen Babu retained his seat,defeating Congress heavyweight Dr Ammar Rizvi.
Financially,his fortunes changed after he got the tenants in his Lucknow house vacated and developed the property on Gokhale Marg into a multi-storey house.
Jheen Babu suffers from scoliosis,a condition of the spine which does not allow him to stand upright,but he remains active and is known for managing contacts in Lucknow.
Although he does not have a criminal past,lately his supporters are being accused of running riot since Jheen Babu has risen in the party.
Skirmishes with rivals have become a routine affair with Jheen Babu allegedly protecting his workers. After his election last year,houses of Dalits were torched in Babna village allegedly by his supporters as they are said to have supported an independent candidate. Although there was a hue and cry over the incident and CM Akhilesh Yadav promised action,Jheen Babu remained untouched.
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