Former Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh's decision to quit his high profile profession and plunge into politics, is not a new trend. There have been a few other police officers in the past who have tried their luck but not been as successful in politics as they were in the police force. The lone exception is the current union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who quit the state police force as a sub-inspector.
Singh, a 1980-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, has achieved the distinction of being the only police commissioner of Mumbai to have resigned while still being on the post. Singh formally joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday at a rally in Meerut which was addressed by BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Before Singh, former Mumbai police commissioner RD Tyagi, after his retirement, formally joined the Shiv Sena at a public rally in Girgaum in 1998. Tyagi contested the elections but post that debacle, has remained out of public life.
Aftab Ahmed Khan, the high-profile police officer who was head of the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) and instrumental in eliminating the dreaded Maya Dolas, joined the Janata Dal in 1998 and even stood for elections from the North-West constituency in Mumbai. He was unsuccessful and then went on to start his own security firm.
Retired director general of police (DGP) of police TK Choudhary was approached by the Samajwadi Party (SP) to contest elections after he superannuated in 2004. "I was given an offer by Samajwadi Party (SP) the day after I retired from service," Choudhary said. He was given a ticket to contest elections from the South-Central constituency in Mumbai but lost the elections. "I later left SP and joined Congress after formal induction. I am not active in politics now. I am, however, impressed by AAP," Choudhary said. "If any government officer wants to join politics, people think that the officer wants to have best of both the worlds. Government officers at times are at a disadvantage because of this," he warned.
Choudhary said that the nation is going through a political revolution right now and police officer should contribute with their expertise for nation building. "Satyapal Singh is a good speaker, a learned IPS officer. I am am sure he will do well in politics," Choudhary said.
Former Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Shamsher Khan Pathan floated his own political party Awami Vikas Party (AVP) a day after he retired from the force. "There has to be a liking to join politics and the decision to join politics can never be a sudden one. Since I had liking towards politics I formed my own party," Pathan said. "Politics is like surviving in sea, a never-ending journey. It requires a lot of hardship and dedication," he added.
"A lot of officers in the past had joined politics for sake of fun, or probably attraction of getting a big portfolio in the party. But since they are unable to fulfil requirements of the party, they quit," Pathan said. "I could see that Satyapal Singh had interest in politics. He was the only officer who had called me after I formed my party to wish me luck. Singh has all the qualities of becoming a good politician," Pathan said.
Former Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Ramrao Ghadge contested the state elections as an independent candidate. He also lost the elections.
Shinde happens to be the only police officer who managed to make it big in politics. "That is primarily because political heavy-weight Sharad Pawar was his mentor and encouraged his to quit the police force and join politics," a former police officer said. Shinde had joined Maharashtra police force has a constable and quit after a few years as a sub inspector.