Bungalow row: 'Ajit Singh gaining political ground'

  • Brajendra K Parashar, Hindustan Times, Lucknow
  • Updated: Sep 20, 2014 19:52 IST

The Centre’s eviction notice for the Lutyens’ Delhi bungalow occupied by him could not have come at a better time for Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh who has cleverly turned the controversy into a political opportunity.

The authorities have snapped electricity and water supply to force Singh out, but their action, even if legitimate, is likely to provide some much-needed oxygen before the 2017 UP polls to this Jat leader otherwise reduced to political irrelevance.

“After his party lost all the Lok Sabha seats and did not even risk participating in the recent byelections, Ajit Singh was looking for an issue to save his political existence,” said analyst SK Sharma.

Observers believe that by whipping up Jat sentiments through repeated reminders to people about the connection late prime minister and popular farmer leader Chaudhary Charan Singh had with the bungalow, his son Ajit Singh is trying to regain the political ground he lost after the Muzaffarnagar riots a year ago.

For over three decades, Singh has been in possession of the sprawling residence at Delhi’s Tughlak Road earlier occupied by his father. When the Centre pressurised him to vacate the place, Singh and his supporters demanded the house be turned into a memorial to Charan Singh.

Sources said that instead of taking the matter head on, the RLD mobilised the western UP farmers under the banner of Chaudhary Charan Singh Vichar Manch, a non-political body, seeking to engage them in the bungalow row.

“The BJP succeeded in weaning away Jat support from Ajit Singh on an emotional issue created by the Muzaffarnagar riots. Now, Singh is trying to regain the same support by appealing to Jat sentiments, telling them that the same BJP they voted for was evicting him from the bungalow associated with the memories of the late PM,” said political observer Sudhir Panwar.

RLD state president Munna Singh Chauhan, however, claimed that the party had nothing to do with the farmers’ agitation and alleged that the NDA government was being vindictive towards Ajit Singh as it had not asked many former BJP MPs to vacate their bungalows.

Singh on Friday visited his supporters – who were injured in police action after they tried to stop water supply to Delhi in protest – at a Ghaziabad hospital. His son and ex-MP Jayant Chaudhary went to other hospitals in Muradnagar and Muzaffarnagar with the same objective.

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