One of the candidates for the Jaunpur Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh, Bahadur Lal Sonkar, 48, was found dead early on Monday morning, hanging from a branch of an acacia tree in his village.
Sonkar’s family alleged that he had been kidnapped early on Monday morning and murdered by supporters of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate from the seat, Dhananjai Singh. “He was being pressured by Dhananjai’s people to withdraw as he was cutting into the BSP’s Dalit votes,” said his brother Suresh. “Some policemen were also urging him to drop out.”
“I had nothing to do with it and would welcome a CBI enquiry,” responded Dhananjai Singh. He in turn accused the Samajwadi Party candidate Paras Nath Yadav of having plotted the killing.
Sonkar was the nominee of the Indian Justice Party (IJP), which too espouses the cause of Dalits. It was set up in 2003 by a former IAS officer Udit Raj, who has been very critical of the BSP chief Mayawati, saying she secured votes from Dalits but done nothing for them in return. .
Since the IJP was not a party recognized by the election commission, no decision has yet been taken on whether the poll in Jaunpur should be countermanded. “A case of murder has been registered and the matter is being investigated,” said Aparna U, the district magistrate and returning officer for the Jaunpur seat.