Ramesh Upadhyay, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case, has joined the Janata Dal (United) in Uttar Pradesh. Besides, he has been appointed state convenor of the party’s ex-servicemen cell.
UP JD(U) chief Anoop Singh Patel issued Upadhyay’s appointment letter on October 12.
Upadhyay is a retired army major. The Maharashtra ATS had arrested Upadhyay along with Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit in the 2008 Malegaon case. He was released on bail in 2017. The trial is on in a special NIA court in Mumbai.
Upadhyay is a resident of Pune and a native of Ballia in UP. He fought the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Ballia as an Independent candidate. In 2012, he contested the UP Assembly elections also from Ballia on a Hindu Mahasabha ticket.
It looks like being an accused in Malegaon bomb blast case is a ‘qualification’ to join politics! Ramesh Upadhyay, an accused, joined JD (U). Chandan Haygunde reports in @IndianExpress https://t.co/hpImCQeFiE
— Liz Mathew (@MathewLiz) October 17, 2020
Speaking to The Indian Express, Upadhyay said, “Members of the JD(U) in UP had approached me. After discussions, I decided to work for the party… I do not plan to contest elections as of now. I am currently residing in Pune, but will travel to UP for party work.”
Upadhyay said he believes in the JD(U) leadership and its idea of “samajik nyay ke sath vikas (development along with social justice)”.
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Asked about the terror charges against him, Upadhyay said, “I am innocent. I am a nationalist, and a patriotic and secular person. I was falsely implicated in the Malegaon bomb blast case… I am waiting for my acquittal. I wish to work for society.”
Hari Shankar Patel, General Secretary of the JD(U) in UP, said, “Major Upadhyay has contested elections from UP twice in the past. Our district chief from Ballia knew Upadhyay and asked him to join the party. We respect the courts and law. Upadhyay has not been held guilty by the court.”