Ex-BSP MLA accused of arson at Rita Joshi house joins BJP

The move triggered a controversy as the former BSP MLA is one of the prime accused in the case of arson at the residence of Rita Bahuguna Joshi in 2009. Joshi was the UP Congress president at the time.

Jitendra Singh Babloo

BJP MP Rita Bahuguna Joshi on Wednesday said that she was “stunned” by the induction of former BSP MLA and history-sheeter Jitendra Singh ‘Babloo’ into the party-fold.

The joining of Jitendra Singh in presence of Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh and several senior party leaders in Lucknow triggered a controversy as the former BSP MLA is one of the prime accused in the case of arson at the house of Rita Bahuguna Joshi in 2009. Joshi was then UP Congress president.

Expressing shock at the induction, Joshi, who represents Prayagraj in Lok Sabha, claimed that Jitendra Singh might have hidden the facts from the BJP leadership, and said that she would seek cancellation of his party membership.

“I believe that he ( Jitendra Singh Babloo) kept the BJP leadership in the dark and joined the party since the doors of BJP are open to everyone all the time. I am sure that UP BJP president (Swatantra Dev Singh) was not aware of Babloo’s criminal background and that he was involved in the attack on my house. I will speak to the state (BJP) chief as well as national president (JP Nadda) to cancel his membership,” Joshi said.

“In July 2009 when my house was set ablaze in Lucknow, he (Babloo) was at the forefront and he was found guilty during investigations,” Joshi, who was in the Congress at that time, claimed, adding that charges have been framed against him.

The Lucknow resident of Rita Bahuguna Joshi was set on fire by masked men on July 15, 2009, after she had allegedly used derogatory words against then chief minister and BSP chief Mayawati. Jitendra Singh Babloo, then an MLA from Bikapur in Ayodhya, was allegedly among those leading the mob. Nearly two dozen policemen were also booked in the case for allegedly “facilitating the perpetrators” of the attack.

Jitendra Singh is a history-sheeter and booked in several criminal cases in many districts.

While Joshi had then demanded a CBI probe into the arson, the case was taken over by the CB-CID, which had arrested Jitendra Singh in 2011. He was later released on bail.

Jitendra Singh was also expelled by the BSP following the arson. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and in the 2017 Assembly polls, he was again fielded by the BSP from Bikapur, but lost to the BJP candidate.

Sources said that he was trying to join the BJP for a long time, but there were some reservations over him that had led to the delay.

Meanwhile, at the induction ceremony held at the party headquarters in Lucknow, Swatantra Dev Singh said that BJP works for the uplift of those deprived, Dalits, Scheduled Tribes not for “vanshavad (dynasty), chhetravad (regionalism), jaativaad (caste politics), parivarvad (nepotism)” like others. “Those who believe in the ideology of BJP have joined the party today. The newly inducted leaders have been given the responsibility to spread awareness about the welfare works of the BJP governments at the Centre as well in the state,” he said.

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