Days after rape accused MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar was expelled from the BJP, party legislator Ashish Singh alias Ashu was heard saying that Sengar is facing “difficulties” at present but would fight them and return to lead party workers.
Singh, the MLA from Bilgram-Mallawan constituency of Hardoi district, was speaking at an oath-taking ceremony organised at Ganj Moradabad Nagar Panchayat in Unnao district. BJP’s Unnao district chief Shrikant Katiyar, MLA from Safipur in Unnao Bamba Lal Diwakar and other BJP workers and leaders were also present.
In a video purportedly shot at the oath-taking ceremony for Ganj Moradabad Nagar Panchayat president Ram Naresh Khushwaha, Singh is heard saying, “Aise kathinayi ke daur se guzar rahe hum sab ke beech ke apne bhai… Adarniyan Kuldeep Singh ji hum sab ke beech mein nahi hai. Kinhi karanon ka, samay ka kaal chakra kaha jayega, phir bhi hum sab ki shubhkamnayen hai. Jo kathinayan hai, jo samay kharab hai, un sab se lad kar, aapse sab ke beech mein, aap sab ka netritva karne pahuchenge. (Our brother, who is facing difficulties, respected Kuldeep Singh Sengar, is not present among us today. For some reasons, call it circumstances, he is not here. Still, our best wishes are with him. The difficulties he is facing… his time is not good. He will fight it and will return among us to lead us).”
There was also a poster at the event with a photograph of Sengar.
After the state party leadership inquired about the matter, district chief Katiyar claimed that he issued an advisory to BJP workers and leaders regarding Sengar’s expulsion and directed them to refrain from talking about Sengar till further orders.
“We have issued an advisory saying that Sengar has been expelled from the party and that the party’s decision should be followed, and if someone does not follow it we will take action for indiscipline. There is no point talking about someone who has been removed from the party. The party is bigger than a person,” Katiyar told The Sunday Express on Saturday. “I was present there. He said it unknowingly. We tried to stop him, too,” he added.
Asked about the poster, Katiyar said, “It was made before Sengar was removed from the party. Our supporters at the village level did not know that he had been expelled.”
MLA Diwakar, who was also present at the event, told The Sunday Express, “He (Singh) had finished speaking when I reached.” He also claimed that he did not notice any poster with Sengar’s image on it.
Singh said his statement “has been twisted” and refused to comment further.
BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said Singh made the remarks in his “personal capacity”.
“Until MLA Sengar is proven guilty, he is innocent in the eyes of the law. Because the BJP respects the sentiments of the people and because Sengar has been accused of serious offences, the party has expelled him. We have taken the decision because the party believes its image is more important than the image of an MLA. He has been expelled from the party on moral grounds. He is still an MLA and if another MLA has used the word ‘respected’ for him in his personal capacity, it is a personal matter,” Tripathi said.