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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Battle for supremacy takes new turn in Rae Bareli

Rae Bareli sees the battle for supremacy between Rae Bareli strongman Akhilesh Singh and his former protégé Dinesh Pratap Singh after attack on MLA Aditi Singh’s convoy.

lucknow Updated: May 17, 2019 17:49 IST
Rohit K Singh
Rohit K Singh
Hindustn Times, Lucknow
Lok Sabha elections 2019,Battle for supremacy,Dinesh Pratap Singh
Aditi Singh, who represents Rae Bareli (Sadar) in the assembly, is Akhilesh Singh’s daughter.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)

The battle for supremacy between Rae Bareli strongman Akhilesh Singh and his former protégé Dinesh Pratap Singh has taken a new turn after Tuesday’s attack on the convoy of Congress MLA Aditi Singh.

Aditi Singh, who represents Rae Bareli (Sadar) in the assembly, is Akhilesh Singh’s daughter.

People associated with the two groups believe this battle for political and financial supremacy is centred around a threekilometre stretch between Akhilesh Singh’s old bungalow-cum office in front of the Congress office at Tilak Bhawan and ‘Panchvati’, the house of Dinesh Pratap Singh and his four brothers, in Rae Bareli for the past few years.

But the fight got a new dimension with the attack on Aditi Singh’s convoy on Tuesday morning.

Dinesh Pratap Singh recently switched loyalties from the Congress to the BJP to contest the Lok Sabha poll against UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Locals as well as administrative officials sense the repercussions of the fight will be felt even after the poll season gets over in Rae Bareli.

“Over 100 people associated with those named in the FIR lodged in connection with the attack on Aditi Singh’s convoy had disappeared from Rae Bareli since Tuesday sensing a retaliation,” they said.

Aditi Singh sustained minor injuries when two vehicles of her convoy ferrying some members of the zila panchayat toppled after an alleged attack on the vehicles twice between Bachhrawan toll plaza on Lucknow-Rae Bareli road and Harchandpur area of Rae Bareli on Tuesday morning.

Fifteen masked men travelling in two SUVs attacked the convoy when Aditi was accompanying zila panchayat members to ensure their participation in a no-confidence motion against local zila panchayat chairman Awadesh Pratap Singh, the brother of Dinesh Pratap Singh.

One of Akhilesh Singh’s old associates said Dinesh Pratap Singh did not stand a chance before ‘Vidhayakji’ (Akhilesh Singh is known by this name though he is not a sitting MLA now and has passed on the political baton to his daughter Aditi Singh).

“Dinesh and his brothers used to be aides of ‘Vidhayakji’ at one time and flourished with his support. The five brothers often took his help to grab contracts of different departments and increase their political as well as financial stature,” he said.

A local official said people had started seeing Dinesh Pratap Singh as the new strongman of Rae Bareli.

He said the five brothers’ political clout increased with Dinesh Pratap Singh becoming an MLC on the Congress ticket and his younger brother Awadesh Pratap Singh winning the post of zila panchayat chairman despite Akhilesh Singh’s opposition. Rakesh Singh, another brother of Dinesh Pratap Singh, won the Harchandpur assembly seat in Rae Bareli as a Congress candidate in 2017, he added.

“Although it is an unstated truth in Rae Bareli that Akhilesh Singh influenced most of the contracts in Rae Bareli, in recent times aspiring contractors and politicians are more eager to be associated with Dinesh Pratap Singh as he and his family have managed to secure contracts worth several hundred crores,” the official said.

“Whether it is a case of Akhilesh Singh losing his grip on Rae Bareli due to a long-term illness or the balance of power shifting from one political party to another, Dinesh and his family have challenged his supremacy on many occasions in recent times,” a local associated with Rae Bareli politics said.

When contacted on Thursday, Akhilesh Singh refused to comment on the issue but held a press conference in Rae Bareli, blaming Dinesh Pratap Singh and his family for the attack on his daughter’s convoy.

Dinesh Pratap Singh, however, has already denied his role in the incident, saying vehicles in the MLA’s convoy overturned due to over speeding.

First Published: May 17, 2019 11:18 IST