WITHIN THE corridors of Rail Bhawan, the elevation of Minister of State Manoj Sinha seemed to be a foregone conclusion when talk of a Cabinet reshuffle first started doing the rounds about a few months ago.
By getting independent charge of telecom, while retaining railways, Sinha is being viewed as among the biggest gainers in the reshuffle.
Over the last two years, the 57-year-old Bhumihar leader from eastern Uttar Pradesh has built a reputation as someone who is accessible to all — his voters from Ghazipur, Railways officers and party workers. On January 25, when Rail Bhawan is shut after midday as part of the pre-Republic Day security drill, Sinha’s office is known to remain open.
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A civil engineer from IIT-BHU, Sinha is said to be rarely out of his depth while dealing with complex issues.
His workload, and consequently his stature as MoS, got a boost last year when Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu delegated additional responsibilities, including transfers and postings of officers, chasing some high-profile budget items, dealing with requests from public representatives (MPs, MLAs) — usually pertaining to new trains, increased frequencies, stoppages, completion of pending projects, transfers and postings.
His office dilligently indexed, followed up and prioritised all requests from public representatives. Sinha has been credited with successfully inserting a number of these requests in the Rail Budgets. So while Prabhu was seen as the “ideas man”, Sinha started being known as the “doer”.
Sinha has been given the “high-profile” assignment of looking after all rail works in the PM’s constituency of Varanasi.