Yunus Khan

Public Works Department, Transport.

Yunus Khan, the MLA from Deedwana, Nagaur in Western Rajasthan is the minority face in the Raje government.

Getting a plum post that of PWD ministry in the Raje Cabinet, Yunus Khan says it is not because of his minority status. But because of his hard work with the common man irrespective of their caste and creed. Having worked his way up from being a development officer at the Life Corporation of India, he is now a trusted lieutenant of Vasundhara Raje.

This is his second term as a legislator and as a minister in Raje’s Cabinet. In his first term, he was the transport and sports minister.

After a Cabinet reshuffle, he was also given the additional charge of transport this time too, reinforcing Raje’s faith in him.

A member of the national working committee of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha in 1993, he managed the party ticket for the assembly elections four times from Nagaur.

Even as the RSS shadow looms large dominating the state politics and especially education field, Khan insists that BJP is changing and shedding its fundamentalist image and looking forward.

Yunus Khan has been the centre of controversy over hosting a Chehullum ki Fatiha (death feast, similar to Mrityu Bhoj among Hindus) on the 40th day of the demise of his father in 2005.

The feast was organised at his ancestral home in Sikar’s Ganedi village on 26th May 2005 when he was the Transport Minister. Death feast is prohibited by the Rajasthan Mrityu Bhoj Prevention Act, 1960. In 2005, the feast created a political controversy after it was alleged that several senior members of the state Cabinet, including Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Ministers Laxminarain Dave, Ghanshyam Tiwari and Parliamentary Secretary Bhawani Singh Rajawat had attended the feast.

Political activist Kailash Meena had filmed the feast. In 2008, on a petition jointly filed by Meena and the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), a court in Sikar issued summons to Khan.

Recently, Independent MLA from Khimsar, Nagaur, Hanuman Beniwal accused Khan of helping alleged gangster Anandpal Singh escape from police custody as part of a political quid pro quo. Khan has, however, rubbished the allegations and called Beniwal as much of an “antisocial element” as Anandpal.

Beniwal alleged that Khan helped Anandpal escape police custody after the alleged gangster helped him win the Assembly elections in 2013. He has demanded a CBI inquiry in the matter.

Beniwal says Khan met Anandpal several times in a Bharatpur prison between July and September 2013, seeking his support in getting Rajput votes against his rival candidate Shyam Pratap Rathore. Following which, Anandpal made about 1,000 calls from within the jail to swing Rajput votes in Khan’s favour and so Khan won. The arrangement was that after winning, he would help Anandpal get his freedom, Beniwal alleged.

Khan has said the allegations from a “serial law breaker” like Beniwal held no weight.

Ganagster Anandpal escaped from police custody while being taken back to Ajmer Central Jail following a court hearing at Didwana in Nagaur. Anandpal’s accomplices, driving an SUV, had closed in on the police vehicle and fired shots from sophisticated weapons like AK-47, injuring three policemen.

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