Blemish on clean image

Pawan Kumar Bansal has always maintained a low profile despite being a top politician and those who have worked with him say he is “very courteous and fair”.

An otherwise clean image of the railway minister, however, landed in a soup on Saturday after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested his nephew Vijay Singla for allegedly taking a bribe to fix a top level appointment in Railway Board.

64-year-old Bansal, an advocate-turned-politician, was made the railway minister in October last year after Trinamool Congress MP Mukul Roy resigned following withdrawal of support by his party to the United Progressive Alliance government. He hiked long-overdue rail fare after taking charge of the ministry despite country-wide criticism for his decision.

A fourth term MP from Chandigarh, Bansal was Parliamentary Affairs Minister in the United Progressive Alliance government before he was shifted to the Railway Ministry. He was first elected to Rajya Sabha from Punjab in 1984. Bansal made it to the Lok Sabha from Chandigarh in 1991. After losing the seat in 1996, he got elected from the same seat in 1999, 2004 and 2009.

Bansal, who originally hails from south-west Punjab, has held various positions in the Congress, including its Chief Whip status during 2004-06. A law graduate from Panjab University, which is alma mater of Manmohan Singh also, the railway minister is considered to be close to the prime minister.

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