Mukhtar Ansari, Gayatri Prajapati and Now Kuldeep Sengar: Why Parties Can’t Do Without Tainted Netas
While both Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati are now voicing support for the Unnao rape survivor and her family and accusing the BJP of shielding the MLA, a bitter fact is that both had once shared ties with him.
File photo of BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar. (PTI)
Lucknow: Former BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, prime accused in the 2017 Unnao rape case, has been behind bars for almost two years now and yet, his party till very recently had not dared to completely snap its ties with the tainted politician. This, despite massive public outrage following charges of deep-rooted conspiracy behind a road accident that has left the rape survivor battling for her life.
But Sengar is not alone in this category of tainted musclemen-moneyed politicians who continue to call the shots and derive support from political parties, depending upon their utility.
What Sengar is alleged to have been for the BJP till very recently is similar to what rape and corruption accused Gayatri Prasad Prajapati was to the Samajwadi Party and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav when his party was in power.
While both Akhilesh and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati are now voicing support for the Unnao rape survivor and her family, demanding action against Sengar and accusing the BJP of shielding the MLA, a bitter fact is that both of them had once shared ties with him.
Sengar has been an MLA in both the BSP and the SP in the past, before moving to the BJP in 2017. No doubt, rape charges surfaced against him only in 2017, but it’s a well-known fact in Unnao how the MLA expanded his clout over the past two decades. In 2003, his brother had even opened fire on an Additional Superintendent of Police. Nothing happened in the case, despite the filing of an FIR.
However, for the BJP claiming to be a party with a difference, ground politics had been no different. Not just Sengar, several other local heavyweights were also accommodated over the past few years with a strategy to win the elections. Sengar’s utility as a vote manager saw the likes of Unnao MP Sakshi Maharaj openly going to meet him after the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls.
Because of this utility, the party, which came up with the slogan of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, never even issued an official statement about Sengar’s suspension over the past two years, since the time he has been in jail as an undertrial. Now that he has been booked under a new FIR for murder and conspiracy over the rape survivor’s car crash, the party was forced to reconsider its ties with the MLA and finally expelled him after massive public outrage. The development was confirmed by the party's Uttar Pradesh chief Swatantra Dev Singh.
“Suspension is no punishment. Expulsion sends the broader message to bureaucracy and police that Sengar no longer enjoys any clout with the government or the establishment. In a case so sensitive, where the rape survivor’s family had written almost 36 letters to different offices, complaining about threats and criminal intimidation, expulsion is a big message to the law enforcing agencies,” said AK Jain, retired IPS and former Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP).
While Sengar might be the story of the moment, he is surely not the only one of his kind. It was the same BJP that played the role of a vigilant opposition just a couple of years back in UP when the then chief minister Akhilesh Yadav continued to support his rape accused minister Gaytri Prajapati.
For the BJP, Prajapati was a symbol of all that could go wrong with the state government and for Yadav, the lawmaker was a victimised backward caste leader who was being “framed” in a case.
Prajapati had not been the lone black sheep in that regime. The SP government had also been equally supportive of another minister, Ram Murti verma, who was accused of setting ablaze a journalist in Shahjahanpur. Despite immense outrage and political attacks from the Opposition, Verma continued as a minister in the SP government.
Another glaring example of this selective outrage by political parties is don-turned-politician and murder accused, MLA ‘Bahubali’ Mukhtar Ansari. Ansari and his MP brother, Afzal Ansari, are accused in the murder case of BJP MLA Krishnanad Rai. It was Yadav who had taken a high moral position against Ansari's induction in the SP in 2016. The former chief minister had even opened a front against his own uncle Shivpal Yadav on the issue.
But the SP then had no complaints when the murder accused Ansari brothers joined the BSP ahead of the Lok sabha polls and Afzal Ansari went on to become the SP-BSP alliance candidate from Gazipur, subsequently winning the election.
The list doesn’t end even here. For Mayawati, who has been actively tweeting against the BJP and Adityanath government over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state, it is also perhaps a policy of “selective outrage”. Not only have the Ansari brothers been given a place in her party, Mayawati had no hesitation about fielding another ‘bahubali’, Chandrabhadra Singh alias Son Singh, from Sultanpur, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The move came despite Sonu Singh's long criminal past, including murder cases. Although when compared to others, Mayawati has a slightly better record. As the UP chief minister from 2007 to 2012, she had been quicker in taking action against one of her rape accused MLAs, Purshotam Naresh Dwivedi, from Banda. Not only was Mayawati swift in handing over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), she also expelled him from the party. Dwivedi was later convicted and died in jail.
In the infamous National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam during her government, Mayawati swiftly acted against her tainted leaders, including minister Babu Singh Kushwaha. However, it was also said that behind the speedy action was also the concern to save her own neck from investigations.
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