Raja Bhaiya reigns in UP's Kunda region

That controversial independent legislator and Uttar Pradesh Minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya’s writ runs here can be observed even by a casual visitor the moment he enters the limits of Kunda, situated on the busy Lucknow-Allahabad Highway, about 175 km from the state capital.

While Bhaiya’s poll symbol ‘aari’ (fretsaw, a bladed equipment used by carpenters) can be seen hanging on the shops and houses along the narrow and crowded Kunda market, banners and posters of his rivals are nowhere to be seen.

The poll symbol, though allotted by the Election Commission, does have significance as it also denotes Bhaiya’s clout in this area.

“Nothing happens in Kunda without Raja Bhaiya’s permission. From the cops to the civil administration, all are subservient to him,” said a paan shop owner in the market, who declined to reveal his name. Given the clout of Bhaiya, no one dares to speak against him.

But enjoys support

A quick tour of the constituency, however, clearly reveals that the controversial independent legislator also enjoys the support of the masses. For many, his words are final. No wonder a large number of locals approach him for resolution of minor disputes.

“Raja Bhaiya is always ready to help the people, irrespective of their caste and community,” said Jitendra Kumar Singh, a resident of Kunda.

Bhaiya’s supporters are seeking votes on his behalf in villages and markets. He does not visit every village. “Raja Bhaiya holds meetings only at selected places,” said Kamalesh Kumar, another

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