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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Rae Bareli Congress MLA Aditi Singh injured in firing on convoy

Aditi Singh, who is the daughter of Rae Bareli strongman and five-time MLA Akhilesh Singh, received minor injuries while two others accompanying her were severely injured as two four-wheelers of her motorcade toppled while trying to escape 15 masked assailants who reportedly opened fire at her convoy.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 17, 2019 18:57 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Rae Bareli/Lukhnow
MLA,Akhilesh Singh,BJP
Aditi Singh and former SP minister Manoj Pandey also held separate press conferences and accused local BJP leaders for the attack as they were going to vote against Awadesh Singh. (HT Photo)

Political rivalry over Rae Bareli zila panchayat chairman’s post took an ugly turn on Tuesday when Congress MLA Aditi Singh’s convoy was attacked twice on its way to the district panchayat office where voting was scheduled to take place on a no-confidence motion against panchayat head Awadesh Singh.

Aditi Singh, who is the daughter of Rae Bareli strongman and five-time MLA Akhilesh Singh, received minor injuries while two others accompanying her were severely injured as two four-wheelers of her motorcade toppled while trying to escape 15 masked assailants who reportedly opened fire at her convoy. Singh blamed local BJP leaders and Awadesh Singh for the attack.

She claimed it was a planned attack to defer the no-confidence motion against Awadesh Singh, who is brother of BJP’s Lok Sabha candidate Dinesh Pratap Singh and is pitted against UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Earlier, Dinesh Pratap Singh was in the Congress and joined the BJP recently. He is also an MLC 

Inspector General (IG) of Police, law and order, Praveen Kumar said an FIR for attempt to murder and other charges, including causing grevious injuries, has been registered against Dinesh Pratap Singh, Awadesh Singh and unidentified assailants at Harchandpur police station and further probe is on. Narrating the sequence of events, the Congress MLA said the assailants riding in two-three SUVs attacked the convoy twice at the Harchandpur and Baccharawa toll plaza while it was heading from Lucknow to Rae Bareli between 9.40 am and 10 am.

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She alleged that the convoy was attacked to kidnap zila panchayat members accompanying her. She said it was a pre-planned attack to defer the no-confidence motion against Awadesh Singh.

She further said Rakesh Awasthi, one of the members accompanying her, was dragged out of her vehicle and taken along by the assailants and later thrown out of the moving vehicle.

She said Rakesh had suffered multiple fractures and was undergoing treatment in a local hospital.

Some Congressmen also claimed that several other zila panchayat members associated with Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party were also stopped from participating in the floor test as they had decided to vote against Awadesh Singh.

Meanwhile, Dinesh Pratap Singh held a press conference in Rae Bareli and refuted the allegations.

Aditi Singh and former SP minister Manoj Pandey also held separate press conferences and accused local BJP leaders for the attack as they were going to vote against Awadesh Singh. Alleging that the attack was deliberate and pre-planned, they demanded that the administration and local police should take strict action against the culprits.

Aditi Singh said the entire incident was captured on CCTV cameras installed at the toll plaza and attackers could be easily identified with the footage.

Manoj Pandey alleged that several other zila Panchayat members, who were on their way to vote against Awadesh Singh, were also stopped from entering the city.

He, along with Aditi Singh and their supporters, sat on a dharna at Shaheed Chowk in Rae Bareli to protest against the district administration and the police. They said they had expressed apprehension about such an incident to district magistrate Neha Sharma and the superintendent of police Sunil Singh, but they did not pay any heed.

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Divisional commissioner Anil Garg and Inspector General of Police, Lucknow Range, SK Bhagat too rushed to Rae Bareli from Lucknow on getting to know about the incident. They said stern directives have been issued to register an FIR against those involved in the attack and initiate stern action against them.

Supposedly backed by the Congress, 31 of 52 zila panchayat members have brought a no-confidence motion against Awadhesh Singh.

The Congress has accused the Rae Bareli district authorities of violating all democratic norms and framing those who brought the no-confidence motion against Awadhesh Singh last month.

Thirty-one of the panchayat members moved the Allahabad high court, which ordered the district authorities to table the no-confidence motion against the chairman on May 14.

Floor test deferred

District administration officials, meanwhile, said the no-confidence motion against the zila panchayat chairman has been deferred after the MLA and other members failed to reach the zila panchayat auditorium to participate in the floor test scheduled for Tuesday morning.

First Published: May 15, 2019 02:05 IST