BJP changes candidate for zila panchayat chief's post after Unnao rape survivor writes to President, PM

UNNAO: The BJP on Thursday changed its candidate for the post of the district panchayat chief here after the Unnao rape survivor objected to the party’s choice, alleging that he is “very close” to former MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who was convicted for the crime.

Sengar, a former BJP MLA from Unnao’s Bangarmau seat, was accused of rape by the victim in 2017.

A Delhi court had sentenced Sengar to life imprisonment in the case in December 2019.

The party’s decision came after the rape victim wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister in this regard.

The rape survivor also claimed danger to her life if the BJP gives ticket to Arun Singh, who held the post of the Nawabganj block panchayat chief.

The elections for the post of the zila panchayat chairman are scheduled for July 3.

The BJP had earlier denied the charge, with its district president Raj Kishore Rawat terming it “baseless” and suggesting that the allegations may be a part of a “conspiracy” by the Opposition.

Later, Rawat in a statement said, “On directions of the party leadership, the candidature of Arun Singh has been cancelled. Now Shakun Singh, wife of the late former MLA Ajit Singh, will be the party candidate for the district panchyat chairperson.”

The rape survivor had told the PTI over the phone that though the BJP talks of strict action against criminals, it declared the man, who was “involved” in the murder case of her father, as its candidate for the post of the zila panchayat chairman.

She alleged, “The BJP government is still supporting Kuldeep Singh Sengar. Arun Singh is very close to Sengar. My entire family has been destroyed by Sengar. If Arun Singh gets the ticket, it will increase danger to my life.”

“It is my demand from the party and the government to withdraw Arun Singh’s name and declare someone else as its candidate,” the rape survivor said, adding that she has written to President Ram Nath Kovind, PM Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath regarding this.

She also alleged that her uncle is seeking parole from police custody but it is not being allowed because of Sengar.

Her sister’s marriage has been stalled due to the absence of any male member in her family, she claimed.

Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya earlier in the day in Mirzapur said that he has got information about the BJP ticket to Arun Singh and the party leadership will take a decision on it.