Smriti Irani, along with other people, shouldered her close aide Surendra Singh’s body on way to the cremation ground for his last rites.
- BJP worker Surendra Singh was shot dead by two men at his house last night
- His family has blamed Congress workers for his killing
- Police have not ruled out possibility of it being a political murder
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Smriti Irani on Sunday lent a shoulder to the mortal remains of her close aide, who was shot dead in an incident of post-poll violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi.
Irani’s aide, 50-year-old Surendra Singh, former head of Baraulia village, was shot dead by two unidentified men at his house around 11.30 on Saturday night. He was rushed to the trauma centre in Lucknow, where he succumbed to his injuries hours later.
The newly elected MP from Amethi Lok Sabha constituency, along with other people, shouldered Singh’s body on way to the cremation ground for his last rites.
Irani, who was in Delhi, flew to Lucknow en route to Amethi, where she met Surendra Singh’s family and consoled them. The BJP leader and state minister Mohsin Raza participated in the funeral rites, which was attended by a larger number of people.
Both Irani and Raza were seen carrying Singh’s body amidst chanting of slogans by villagers.
“As per the information received, Singh was attacked in his sleep. This is a very heinous and disgusting incident,” Raza, the minister in charge of Amethi district, said.
Singh’s family members have blamed Congress workers for his killing. “I think some pro-Congress anti-social elements did not like our celebration following the BJP’s win from Amethi. They were upset,” Abhay Singh, the former village head’s son said.
Irani had defeated Congress president Rahul Gandhi from Amethi, a seat considered a Gandhi family bastion.
Women family members of the slain ex-pradhan were inconsolable. “He [Singh] never has any enmity with anyone despite being a village pradhan for many years,” a teary-eyed elderly woman said.
“And as the [Lok Sabha] elections were over, enemies surfaced. From where they came, who came, no one knows,” she added.
The police have not ruled out the possibility of it being a “political murder”. Amethi SP Rajesh Kumar said, “The incident cannot be ruled out to be a political murder. All aspects are being probed. There can be old enmity as well.”
UP DGP Om Prakash Singh said, “We have come to know about old enmity. We are also finding out if there was any political enmity. In initial investigation, we have got some vital clues.”
“UP Police teams are conducting a very intensive investigation. We have taken seven persons in custody, and they are being intensely interrogated. We have also got important evidence through electronic surveillance. I am hopeful that in the next 12 hours, we will solve the case,” the DGP said.
On Sunday, the state government said in a tweet that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered a probe into Singh’s murder and to show results by evening. The tweet added that Inspector General of Police in Lucknow has also been sent to investigate the case.
“Considering the fact that the Congress is disappointed, especially after the defeat of its party president in Amethi, a high-level probe should be ordered, and the guilty should be punished,” BJP convenor for Amethi Lok Sabha seat Rajesh Agrahari said.
“Surendra Singh was a popular and active grassroots level leader, and a close aide of MP Smriti Irani. He and other party leaders were actively involved in distribution of shoes,” he added.
Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya expressed grief over Singh’s death.
“The death of a party worker is indeed very sad and unfortunate. He was a hard worker,” Maurya said. “Even if his killers are hiding below the ground, they will be caught. The entire Amethi is sad over the incident.”
Newly-elected Allahabad MP Rita Bahuguna Joshi said there was no place for violence in a democracy and demanded strict action against the killers.
Baraulia was in the news during the Lok Sabha election campaign after Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accused Irani of distributing shoes to the residents in order to insult Rahul Gandhi.
“Considering the fact that the Congress is disappointed, especially after the defeat of its party president in Amethi, a high-level probe should be ordered and the guilty should be punished,” Rajesh Agrahari, the BJP convenor for the Amethi constituency said.
“Surendra Singh was a popular and active grassroots-level leader, and a close aide of MP Smriti Irani. He and other party leaders were actively involved in distribution of shoes,” he added.