The Bharatiya Janata Party is in no mood to strip Kuldeep Singh Sengar of his privileged position as a member of the state Assembly.
While boasting of his decision to expel the rape and murder accused lawmaker from the party, Swatantra Dev Singh, state BJP chief told media on Sunday: “We don’t need criminals. Our policy of zero tolerance against the anti-socials will continue.”
But Singh developed cold feet when asked why Sengar was still an MLA and what made the BJP leadership to keep him in the party for 15 months even after he was arrested in a gangrape case of a minor girl of a family of his own political worker in April 2018. Her family members used to campaign for Sengar till 2010, when they developed some personal differences.
Singh ignored the reporter’s question and walked away. Ideally, the BJP would have written to the Assembly Speaker Hriday Narayan Dixit to disqualify Sengar from the House because he was no longer a member of the party.
Singh’s fear is obvious. Cutting across the party-line, many Thakur, and other upper caste MLAs have expressed their support for Sengar in their private or public conversations.
Many followers of these caste leaders have been projecting the rogue leader as their role-model on social sites. They have been running a facebook page to gather support for him and create a public opinion against the sexual assault survivor, who is battling for life after meeting an accident in Rae Bareli on July 28. She was shifted from Lucknow’s King George Medical University to AIIMS, Delhi on Monday. Her two aunts had succumbed to the injuries and her uncle has registered a case with the CBI, claiming that it was a conspiracy hatched by Sengar from Sitapur jail to kill his victim rape survivor and an eyewitness aunt.
Sengar’s sympathizers are posting messages on the social site, describing him as “a truthful person, who will emerge victorious in the end.”
Ashish Singh Ashu, BJP MLA from Bilgram Mallawan, was seen in a meeting in Nagar Panchayat Ganjmuradabad in Unnao, the home town of Sengar, last week saying, “Our brother Kuldeep Singh is not present here for some reasons but he would soon be with us. My good wishes are with him during these tough days.”
The BJP workers present in the meeting were seen chanting in a video going viral on social sites: “Kuldeep Sengar jindabad.”
If sources were believed, the CBI has got a clue that Rinku Shukla, a co-accused with the MLA in the “dubious accident case” had met Sengar in Sitapur jail a week before the truck with blackened registration plate hit the car of the victim. A video in circulation on social sites shows Shukla bribing constables at the gate of Sitapur prison.
Sengar was shifted from there to Tihar jail on Monday.
The importance of Sengar in the BJP can also be gauged from the fact that Sakshi Maharaj, after his election as an MP from Unnao in May this year, met the MLA in jail and later told media: “Sengar helped me in winning and it was my responsibility to meet him and say thanks.”
It is not only a section of the political class that stands by Sengar but even the state and district administrations appear at his feet. Although he was lodged in jail for the last 15 months in the gang rape case and his brother Jai Deep Sengar in the murder case of the victim’s father, Unnao administration didn’t feel like canceling the license of the MLA’s three weapons- a single barrel gun, a rifle and a revolver till August 1 this year. It was done when the CBI, which was already investigating the gangrape and victim's father's murder case, filed a second murder case against Sengar and nine others after Rae Bareli’s truck-car collision.
A police officer in April 2018 had submitted a report with the local administration to cancel his license but the authorities preferred to ignore it. The same administrative officers had rejected the rape survivor’s application for an arms license submitted in 2018.
Reacting over the importance of the criminal MLA, Dwijendra Tripathi, spokesperson of UP Congress said, “Sengar is bigger than the BJP. Sakshi Maharaj has already said that the MLA helped him from jail in winning Lok Sabha election. Entire party and the government are trying to protect him. It is only the public outrage, which is forcing the state and the central governments to appear taking action against Sengar.”