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Third time Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh a silent performer

Press Trust of India  |  Raipur 

Known to skirt controversial issues such as Hindutva and conversions, Raman Singh, who today became the Chief Minister of the Naxal-affected Chattisgarh for the third time, has earned the reputation of being a silent performer.

Never regarded as a very right-wing Hindu-nationalist politician, 61-year-old Ayurvedic doctor-turned politician is focused on development issues and promises a better life for the people.

Fondly called as 'Chawal Wale Baba' (the rice God), Singh, who had an uninterrupted 10-year rule of the tribal-dominated state, earned the sobriquet for the popularity of unique pro-welfare schemes including distribution of rice at Rs one and Rs two per kg to families belonging to extremely poor and below poverty line categories.

Rice for Rs 1 a kg under the Antyodaya scheme and at Rs 2 for others below the poverty line (BPL) families were touted as one of the main achievements of the Raman Singh government.

Despite recurring Maoist violence for which he has had his share of criticism, tech-savvy Singh has turned the backward state into a model of development.

He was also credited for bringing in Chhattisgarh Food Security Act, much before the National Food Security Act which was described as a "game changer" by Congress.

Singh has won praise from political rivals including Finance Minister P Chidambaram (during his tenure as Home Minister) for adopting pro-active policy to tackle Naxalism.

He was credited for forming 'Salwa Judum' -- an anti-Naxal movement, to check Left-wing extremism in the state-- but it was decried by human rights activists.

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First Published: Thu, December 12 2013. 13:35 IST