Unnao rape case: Why BJP is silent on action against Kuldeep Singh Sengar?
Evenas the #Unnaocase trended on Twitter on Monday, the BJP ‘s Uttar Pradesh leaders remained mum on the issue of action against its rape-accused MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who has now been charged with conspiracy to murder the rape victim and key witnesses in the rape case.
Three tweets by Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi ‘Vadra’ questioning why Bharatiya Janata Party hasn’t acted against its jailed lawmaker and Samajwadi Party raising the issue in both houses of Parliament failed to make any impact on the BJP.
Sengar has neither been suspended or expelled so far by the BJP, an issue that now threatens to provide the opposition a handle to target the government.
“No, please avoid this right now,” a senior BJP leader said when asked if the party was contemplating any action against the MLA.
After Sengar was named as accused in the latest FIR on Monday, Priyanka Gandhi tweeted again. “What is the BJP waiting for? Why has this man not been expelled from the party even when his name is in the latest FIR,” she tweeted on the subject for the fifth time during the day signing off her tweets with #BJPSackSengar.
Priyanka’s tweets were met with an initial silence from the BJP with even party spokespersons, usually the first to launch a counter attack against political adversaries, remaining evasive on the subject.
Sengar’s political clout is such that soon after winning the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP’s Unnao MP Sakshi Maharaj had visited the Sitapur jail to meet and “thank” the lawmaker.
Sakshi Maharaj, who had feared losing his ticket due to adverse ground report against him, finally not only contested but won too, by about 4 lakh votes.
During the election campaign, Sakshi Maharaj had shared the stage with Sengar’s wife, apparently to capitalise on the lawmaker’s clout.
“It’s his clout that has got the BJP quiet. Otherwise, why are BJP leaders, who cried hoarse on the recent issue of Azam Khan, now shying away from taking action against their own lawmaker who is now also an accused of conspiring to kill her?,” asked former BJP leader IP Singh who is now with the state’s main opposition Samajwadi Party.
After winning on a BSP ticket in 2002, Sengar won two successive polls (2007, 2012) on Samajwadi Party ticket before joining the BJP ahead of the 2017 UP polls and winning his fourth term as lawmaker from Bangarmau, Unnao. What’s more, he won three of the four assembly polls from different assembly seats of Unnao-- he won his first election in 2002 on BSP ticket from Unnao (sadar) seat; in 2007, he won on a Samajwadi Party ticket from Bangarmau and in 2012 he again won on SP ticket, this time from Bhagwant Nagar.
In 2017, he again shifted to Bangarmau and won on a BJP ticket, which gave the Bhagwant Nagar seat to present assembly speaker Hriday Narain Dikshit who is believed to have won with generous support of Sengar.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday ordered the police to register a named FIR against Sengar in the road mishap case and rushed one of his ministers Swati Singh to assure the victim that justice would be done.
But while the government has been active, the party BJP has been keeping mum.
“Sengar’s clout is immense. He had won elections despite the fact that caste compositions didn’t suit him. He is a Thakur while Unnao is Brahmin dominated,” a BJP leader said admitting that the row surrounding the BJP lawmaker wasn’t good for the party’s image.
However, a group of BJP lawmakers, considered close to Sengar, feel that the lawmaker has become a victim of politics.