Former home secretary R K Singh and former oil secretary R S Pandey today joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Both Singh and Pandey are retired officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) from the Bihar cadre.
They said the BJP was the only political party in the country that was driven by the nation’s interest.
“The BJP will never compromise on nation’s unity and integrity,” said Singh, who was handpicked by then Home Minister P Chidambaram for the post of home secretary.
The BJP is looking at Singh and Pandey as possible candidates for Lok Sabha elections from Bihar. The party’s excitement at bringing them under the fold was visible from the presence of senior Bihar BJP leaders such as Sushil Modi, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Shahnawaz Hussain and CP Thakur.
Singh has had his moments with the BJP. In 1990, he had first shot to fame by arresting Lal Krishna Advani in Samastipur. Then, as home secretary, he took action against Hindu rightwing organisations.
Today, however, he distanced himself from both.
“The term saffron terror was coined by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. I never used that term,” Singh said. On Advani, he said, “When I arrested Advani I was just doing my duty. Later, Advani selected me to work as joint secretary in the Home Ministry for five years.” He added that terrorism had no religion and organisations such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh were driven by nation's interests.
Sunil Shastri, son of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Dharam Singh, a railway officer, also joined the BJP. BJP President Rajnath Singh introduced Singh as a “scheduled caste" officer.
This is Shastri's second rendezvous with the BJP. In 2004, he had left the Congress to join the BJP. In 2009, he returned to the Congress. And, now, in 2013 he has again gone back to the BJP.