Amethi, May 26, 2019: A former village head in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi, who worked closely with BJP leader Smriti Irani during her Lok Sabha campaign, was shot dead early this morning. Ms Irani reached his village this afternoon to attend his funeral.
Surendra Singh, a BJP worker, was attacked at his home; he died later at a hospital in Lucknow where he was taken for treatment, said police. Police said an old enmity may have led to the killing but have not ruled out a political motive. "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 DGP Om Prakash Singh was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. Seven people have been taken into custody and they are being interrogated.
Surendra Singh was the former head of Baraulia village. He quit the village head post to participate in the BJP election campaign.
He had actively participated in Smriti Irani’s Lok Sabha campaign and had also earned praise from the BJP leader in her speeches at public meetings. "My father was a close aide of Smriti Irani and would campaign for her day and night. After she was elected as the member of parliament from Amethi, a Vijay Yatra (victory procession) was carried out. I think some Congress supporters didn’t like it," Surendra Singh’s son told news agency ANI.
Smriti Irani defeated Congress chief Rahul Gandhi by over 55,000 votes in Amethi, a Nehru-Gandhi family borough, in a major embarrassment for the party that faced a complete crash in the national elections. The BJP leader had been camping in Amethi since the last three months. She visited the constituency regularly over the past five years.
But the Congress chief hardly visited Amethi, a constituency which he has retained since 2004, ahead of the national election. The Congress had not lost Amethi in about three decades, except in 1998.
In the Lok Sabha polls, while the BJP has won a dizzying mandate for a second term, Congress won just 52 of 542 parliamentary seats.
Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya expressed grief over the BJP worker’s killing and said: "The death of a party worker is indeed very sad and unfortunate. He was a hard worker. Even if his killers are hiding below the ground, they will be caught. The entire Amethi is sad over the incident." UP minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi has also demanded strict action against the killers.