Under fire for taking a step back on the communal angle in the alleged exodus from his constituency, Kairana in western Uttar Pradesh, BJP MP Hukum Singh is now being accused of orchestrating the issue to promote the political career of one of his five daughters.
In his report to the DGP headquarters, Saharanpur Range DIG A.K. Raghav warned of a possible communal conflagration in the region.
He said Mr. Singh brought up the exodus issue to consolidate Hindu votes to benefit his daughter in the 2017 elections.
Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh, speaking at a rally on Tuesday, also came up with the same charge. Mr. Hukum Singh, however, dismissed the allegations and attacked on the Jat leader for making “cheap comments.”
“If a person of Ajit Singh’s stature can stoop to this level, trying to involve my family, you can infer what sort of a person he is. Check his background. He gained space entirely due to the BJP. Whenever he contested without the BJP, he and his son disappeared from the scene,” the BJP MP said. “He’s not bothered that he’s trying to promote his son. He’s only bothered about me, that I shouldn’t do anything for my daughter.”
BJP spokesperson Chandramohan said Mr. Singh’s daughter Mriganka Singh ran a school in western U.P. and had never campaigned for herself,
Mr. Singh described allegations of communal polarisation as motivated and baseless. “If I have survived in politics, it is because I am concerned about the welfare of the electorate. Frankly, I have been getting a substantial number of Muslim votes. Hold elections today, the number of Muslim votes for me would have only increased. I stand for a just cause,” he told The Hindu.
Born in Kairana in 1938 into a Gurjar family, Mr. Singh completed his LLB from the Allahabad University before commissioning for the Army in 1963. He served as a Captain in Poonch and Rajouri sectors in Kashmir during the 1965 India-Pakistan war and in Andhra Pradesh for a year. He then took voluntary retirement and started practising Law in Muzaffarnagar. He entered active politics in 1974, becoming an MLA for the first time on a Congress ticket. He went on to win Assembly elections seven times and held the post of deputy speaker of the Assembly from 1983 to 1985. He won his fourth term with the BJP in 1995 and his first Lok Sabha elections in 2014 riding on the Modi wave.
Surendra Rajput, a political observer associated with the Congress and a native of Shamli, said Mr. Singh’s release of the exodus list days before the BJP national convention in Allahabad was to make his presence felt.
“Why now? Singh has been MLA since 2012 and MP since 2014. What action did he take in the last four years to stop the migration? He is clearly projecting himself for the CM’s post,” Mr. Rajput said.
Post the Muzaffarnagar riots, the other accused Sanjeev Balyan, Suresh Rana and Sangeet Som shot into prominence. But Mr. Singh was sidelined, Mr. Rajput said.
Mr. Singh disagreed. “I am in the mainstream with the BJP and have always been. There is no question of sidelining me. My leaders are happy. My national president rang me up yesterday to extend support. Some people are hoping I will be sidelined. I am sorry if they are disappointed,” he said.
Asked about the role he expected to play in the 2017 elections, Mr. Singh said: “Let the time come. Let our high command decide.”