For the second time in three months, the Bhartiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh has been forced to change candidates for the panchayat elections, because they were related to former MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who has been convicted of rape.
The BJP had named Arun Singh as its candidate for the zila panchayat chairman’s post in Unnao but the rape victim appealed against the decision to President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in this regard.
In her appeal, the rape victim said that Arun Singh was one of the co-accused in the case registered in connection with the accident involving her car on July 28, 2019, in which her two aunts were killed while she and her lawyer were critically injured.
Arun Singh claimed that though he was initially named in the case but the CBI had given him a clean chit. “Allegations are being levelled against me at the behest of my rivals,” he said.
The party has named Shakun Singh as its candidate. Shakun is the wife of former MLC Ajeet Singh, who was shot dead in 2005. Singh was a well-known mafia don of the state.
Unnao district chief Raj Kishore Rawat said that state BJP president Swatantra Dev Singh had directed him to change the candidate.
Earlier, in April, the BJP had named Kuldeep Sengar’s wife, Sangeeta Sengar, as the party candidate for the zila panchayat ward member but replaced her after a similar uproar against her candidature.
Sengar, a former BJP MLA from Unnao’s Bangarmau seat, was accused of rape by the victim in 2017.
A Delhi court had sentenced Sengar to life imprisonment in the case in December 2019.
In March 2020, a special court sentenced Sengar, his brother Atul Singh and five others to 10 years’ imprisonment in two cases linked to the death of the Unnao rape victim’s father in 2018.
Kuldeep Sengar was expelled from the BJP and disqualified as member of state assembly after the trial court convicted him.
The election for the zila panchayat chairperson will be held on July 3.