How turncoats sully parties: Lessons from rape-accused Kuldeep Sengar

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BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar has been accused of raping an Unnao woman. Photo: PTI

BJP MLA from Bangarmau in Unnao, Kuldeep Sengar was suspended from the party long ago and remains under suspension, Uttar Pradesh BJP President Swatantra Dev Singh clarified on Tuesday. Seems to be a clear afterthought after the Unnao rape case, in which this MLA is a prime accused, hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons yet again.

It happened again on last Sunday when the rape survivor, her two aunts and her lawyer, who was driving the car, were hit by a speeding truck on her way to Rae Bareli. While the two women were pronounced dead at the trauma centre of King George’s Medical University in Lucknow, the rape survivor and her lawyer are said to be in critical condition, battling for life.

Also read: Unnao case: Was it a mishap or an orchestrated accident?

Sengar won his first election as an MLA from Unnao Sadar seat on a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket in 2002. Later, he shifted loyalties to Samajwadi Party (SP) and won from Bangarmau on a Samajwadi ticket in 2007 and from Bhagwant Nagar in 2012. Sengar then shifted allegiance to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and won from Bangarmau seat in 2017.

It was his influence, affluence and winnability which made the BJP admit him with open arms in 2017. And because no other background check was done, the party is now facing heat from all directions even as some ministers and top leaders in the party are said to be strongly rallying behind him as he has a formidable hold to sway votes in Unnao district.

And now Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav is raising hue and cry over the accident, alleging that it was a murder conspiracy, and is demanding a CBI probe into the incident. The bigger question is where was Akhilesh Yadav and his partymen when Sengar was welcomed into his party in 2007 and was given ticket twice by his party to contest Assembly elections from the state?

This is not the only case of embarrassment caused to political parties because of “Dabang Netas (strongman leaders)” or turncoats in Uttar Pradesh politics.

Amar Mani Tripathi

The morning of May 10, 2003 shocked the people and politics of Uttar Pradesh with the morning newspaper headlines. A young budding poetess, Madhumita Shukla had been shot dead in her house in Lucknow. And the accused was a powerful politician of the state, Amar Mani Tripathi. Tripathi, a former minister and four-time MLA, had been with various parties, including the Congress, BSP, SP and the BJP.

After a long trial by media, Tripathi and his wife were arrested in September 2003 on charges of murder. Shukla’s post-mortem revealed that she was carrying a foetus which matched the DNA of Tripathi. Both Amarmani Tripathi and his wife were sentenced to life imprisonment in October 2007. In what seems to be generational, his son Aman Mani Tripathi, an Independent MLA from Nautanwa, was also charged with the murder of his wife Sara, but is out on bail.

Jagdambika Pal

Jagdambika Pal was a member and leader of the Indian National Congress till 1997, when he parted ways to join ND Tiwari’s All India Indira Congress (Tiwari). He then formed his own party — Akhil Bhartiya Loktantrik Congress with several other leaders and became a minister in the Kalyan Singh government.

He became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for three days from February 21 to 23, 1998, when the Kalyan Singh government was dismissed by the then-Governor Romesh Bhandari, but reinstated by the Supreme Court. Pal came back to Congress and became the president of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee. He became a Member of Parliament from Domariyaganj and stayed with the Congress until 2014 when he shifted his loyalties towards the BJP, on whose ticket he is an MP from Domariaganj.

Naresh Agarwal

Agarwal started his career as a Congressman and won elections as MLA from Hardoi constituency. He left the party in 1997 to join Akhil Bhartiya Loktantrik Congress of Jagadambika Pal and as an alliance partner, was a minister in three successive BJP governments led by Kalyan Singh, Ram Prakash Gupta and Rajnath Singh. He was later sacked from the cabinet by Rajnath Singh following recommendations from the Lokayukta of the state in a case of corruption.

Agarwal then shifted to the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, and back to the Samajwadi Party. He is now with the BJP. However, in a strange case, his son Nitin Agarwal is with the Samajwadi Party and is a two-time MLA from Hardoi constituency.

Unending list

There are scores of turncoat leaders from Uttar Pradesh who have changed parties like changing shirts and the list is unending. Such leaders do not believe in any ideology and are just attracted to the magnetic force of power and money. It is high time political parties, especially those in power, beware of them.

(Vivek Avasthi is Senior Editor – Politics with Business Television India)