Sunday, March 19, 2023
HomeNational Interest3 defectors, 6 murders, 3 rapes, 1 party — BJP

3 defectors, 6 murders, 3 rapes, 1 party — BJP

The stories of Kuldeep Singh Sengar, Sanjay Sinh and Sakshi Maharaj and what they tell us about our politics, policing, justice system, and the BJP.

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Two-and-a-half champion serial defectors have been in our political headlines lately.

The first, and the most familiar, is Kuldeep Singh Sengar of Unnao rape-murders infamy.

The second, former Amethi ‘Raja’, ex-MP and ex-minister Sanjay Sinh, who just jumped Congress party’s sinking ship.

And the third is Sakshi Maharaj, the BJP’s recently-elected Unnao MP. We count him as half because he hasn’t done anything particularly political or criminal lately. He only earned what we might call a ‘mention in despatches’, or collateral infamy, for having called on Sengar in jail to thank him for supporting him in the Lok Sabha election in his domain.

All three are serial defectors. There are about six (at last count) fully or partly unresolved murder cases they are, or have been, linked with. And, at least three rapes which remain unresolved, just like the murders.

Further, all three remain in persistent demand. They own the votes of their castes and pocket boroughs, they know their ways around the law, and they have that one attribute all political parties weigh above competence, honesty and, of course, morality. It is the blessing of winnability.

It just so happens that all three have ended up in the BJP. Until 48 hours back, when Sengar was finally expelled.

We are so fixated on his life as an alleged criminal and a don, or ‘Bahubali’ as they are called in the Hindi heartland, that we risk overlooking his equally varied and colourful public life. In 2002, the local ‘daddu’ became an honourable MLA for the first time, winning Unnao on a BSP ticket.

Next, he defected to the Samajwadi Party, and won from the neighbouring Bangermau and Bhagwant Nagar constituencies in 2007 and 2012, respectively. This is when it had become fashionable and widely-accepted that the SP was patronising criminal mafias, especially those of the Yadavs and Rajputs in Uttar Pradesh. In 2017, sensing the winds, he moved to the BJP, and became an MLA for it.

It was the same year, in fact just about three months after his election as a BJP MLA, that the unfortunate teenager came to her MLA seeking help for a job and complained that he “raped” her instead, and after doing so, “wiped my tears and offered to help me find a job”.

Also read: Modi and Shah have been challenged for the first time — by Yediyurappa, of all people

Sanjay Sinh has changed so many parties, I can’t even feel confident giving you a definitive chronology for fear of being fact-checked. He was linked with a famous murder, although discharged.

It was the ‘supari’ killing in Lucknow of then-national badminton champion Syed Modi (28 July 1988). Sanjay Sinh was a prime suspect, but was let off for want of evidence as both the Uttar Pradesh Police and the CBI failed to find much against him. So, innocent until proven guilty, we all must accept. Just that it was another of those heartland murders where the hired guns got convicted but nobody found out who hired them. Bhagwati Singh, one of the two hired guns, was convicted. The other, Amar Bahadur, was murdered during trial. Sounds familiar?

After the murder, Sanjay Sinh married Syed Modi’s wife, then Ameeta Modi (nee Kulkarni). Around the time the CBI was handling this murder case, much in the headlines then, V.P. Singh — Sanjay Sinh’s distant uncle through his first wife Garima’s family — had rebelled against the Congress and become prime minister. Time for Sanjay Sinh to move from Congress to the ‘uncle’ too.

A decade later, he joined the BJP and won Amethi on its ticket, defeating Capt. Satish Sharma in 1998, but that Parliament was short-lived as the Vajpayee government lost by one vote in the Lok Sabha.

In the 1999 election, he contested against Sonia Gandhi, his friend and mentor Rajiv Gandhi’s wife, in Amethi on a BJP ticket. This is when Sonia had chosen a second constituency in the south, Bellary, just to be safe. I spent a bit of time in Amethi then, followed Sanjay Sinh’s campaign, and his slogan was so catchy, it still rings in my ears: Sanjay Sinh ke dar ki maari, Sonia bhaag gayi Bellary (Sonia is so terrified of Sanjay Sinh, she fled to Bellary). Of course, Sonia won both.

As the ‘hawa’ shifted, he returned to the Congress in 2003. In 2009, Sanjay Sinh was elected on a Congress ticket in Sultanpur, next to Rae Bareli and Amethi. As his term ended, anticipating a rout in Uttar Pradesh, he managed a Rajya Sabha nomination from Assam from the Congress. That term ends now, the Gandhi family is finished now, so Sanjay Sinh has found new ‘uncles’ in the BJP yet again.

Also read: Modi isn’t about to change India into national security state like Pakistan & bankrupt it

Now, the half. Better or worse, you decide. Sakshi Maharaj, born Sachchidanand Hari Sakshi, has been a shining star of his backward Lodh community (Kalyan Singh, former BJP chief minister, is from the same caste, and Sakshi Maharaj’s patron). In 1991 and 1996, he won the Lok Sabha elections on a BJP ticket. As an accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case, he seemed to have ideological purity.

His ideological commitment, however, couldn’t survive the BJP’s denial of ticket to him. He joined the Samajwadi Party where Mulayam Singh Yadav welcomed him gleefully. Sakshi Maharaj said the BJP’s policies were now anti-poor. But you know why he was denied the ticket despite his winnability? He had been accused of murdering Brahm Dutt Dwivedi, a close associate of then-prime minister Vajpayee.

In 2000, Mulayam sent him to the Rajya Sabha. In the course of time, the murder case ‘faded’. Not to miss out, he got involved in some more “action” soon enough, accused along with his two nephews of gang-rape by a college principal. The holy man spent about a month in Tihar jail, but was discharged for want of evidence, as he was in the Dwivedi murder. Disappearance of evidence for murder and rape, a familiar UP story, you see. Just that you have to ensure you are on the winning side. Always.

By 2002, he knew the Samajwadi Party wasn’t getting anywhere, so he left it, accusing Mulayam of a host of awful things, ranging from casteism, to dictatorship, to — and you might like it — Capitalism. He now informally joined then-BJP rebel Kalyan Singh’s local Rashtriya Kranti Party, essentially a Lodh party.

The Sakshi saga continues. In 2009, the government charged him with setting up a fictitious NGO and collecting Rs 25 lakh illegally. Sujata Verma, his follower and a former principal of the college he owned (Maharani Avanti Bai College), was named as an accomplice. In 2012, he rejoined the BJP. Soon enough, she was shot dead while returning from his ashram. Sakshi and his associates were accused of the murder.

He promptly went underground. Then surrendered and was freed on bail. His efforts to get the FIR quashed in the Allahabad High Court in 2013 failed. The next year, he was sworn in as a Lok Sabha member from the BJP. His ‘honour’ was restored. And with such an illustrious career, we are now complaining that he went to Sitapur jail to thank Sengar?

What’s common between these three diverse lives, and what does it tell us about Indian politics? First, that winnability is now the only morality that parties seek. Criminality, multiple rapes, murders, do not matter. After all, why would you take the stress of politics if you didn’t need such distractions to resolve?

The formula then, at least in the heartland, is to build a local vote bank. It can be based on caste, mafia power, and ideally, a combination of both. Then, you either become winnable personally, or hold the key to others’ victory or defeat.

Then, all parties would vie for you. You can happily choose the winning side, always, and take anything — murders, rape, robbery, rioting, cheating, embezzlement — in your stride. Until a feisty teenager, struggling for breath through a ventilator, her father and most of her family murdered, ruins it all for you.

Also read: BJP finally expels MLA Kuldeep Sengar, 15 months after his arrest in Unnao rape case


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  1. Simply brilliant.Sad the expected transformation in politics with Modi coming is not taking place although the Khan market gang can be charged of selective amnesia.

  2. Thank you Shekhar Gupta for these 3 lovely life sketches .
    This deserves to be translated into all our languages and propagated widely.

  3. Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist,Barnala (Punjab)

    Many thoughts and tales start haunting my mind while going through this story !

    When bulk of bills including triple talaq bill were passed by Rajya Sabha a couple of days ago the same becoming laws instantly, the treasury benches were found patting themselves for working wonders making laws by bringing certain amendments !

    Prime Minister Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad too were feeling quite elated terming
    these amended laws as historical developments and achievements !

    It is very fine to have plethora of laws in the nation but the moot question arises, is everyone equal before law in the nation ? Are these laws followed in toto in the letter and spirit irrespective of offenders high or low, rich or poor and mighty or weak factors ?

    The ruling party rushed through numerous bills during the recent Parliament session turning the same into laws ! Will it serve the purpose of reforming society, that is the multi -million dollar question ?In my humble opinion,Parliament did fritter away its time and energies in futility! The opposition parties too vehemently opposed many of the bills presented in both the houses with amendments .

    How fine it would have been if polity had striven to ensure the compliance of already existing laws in the nation !

    But ironically psyche of the polity appears to be in favour of quantity instead of quality !

    Shekhar Sahib, by citing three examples you have reflected the stark realities of the system in its true colours. Who bothers and cares about
    ideologies, principles, morals and values in the present day politics ?

    The law of the land must be adhered to by all and sundry spiritedly , only then law making has real meaning and
    significance othetwise it is an exercise in nothingness .

    Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist
    Pom Anm Nest,Barnala (Punjab)

  4. The last three letters of your headline reveal your anti-BJP bias. The MLAs and MPs have tasted (and throwed up) other parties. Why then point finger at BJP only ? Were / Are they saints if they join other parties ?
    Remove those three letters !

  5. I would like to know the antecedents of current/ex FAMOUS/INFAMOUS MPs. I heard someone tell harsimran badal in Parliament that her grandfather mijidhia hosted dinner to Dyer the same night on which he had slaughtered indians at jallian wala bagh earlier in the evening. I remember clearly that this woman’s brother was summoned by ED during cong rule for heroine/hard drugs related case. Shibu soren was also involved in murder. Sometimes we indians have such short memories?

  6. So you still believe that Modi and Amit Shah who have become experts at identifying and attracting winnable , criminal candidates to the party and putting them up for election , will then remove all of them and put up clean candidates , who will then go on to win , only because by then a billion Indians will be convinced that Modi is clean and BJP is clean and that both of them want to clean India !

    Bollywood cannot come up with a better script.

    Modi and Amit Shah and the BJP have already cleaned up India.

    The only question is when will they flee the country , like Lalit Modi , Nirav Modi and various others.

  7. Too good an analysis by Shekar ji – as usual.
    The article leaves us pondering over – what is this all about ? Is this about only the three lawmakers and six alleged crimes? Or is this about couple of Political parties only?
    There are greater points at stake. Why these alleged criminals are hot cakes across political parties? Three – four elections away, during ballots days, there were stories of booth capturing and primarily rowdy elements were needed to capture the booths where presumably and apparently votes were expected to be cast to some other candidates. So some supporting booths plus some captured booth used to be equal to a Win. The mighty candidates will use money to engage these road chhap rowdy elements and would become lawmakers. Soon these lawbreakers realised that in stead of facilitating victory of others why they themselves would not stand in elections and win. Initially few of them stood as independent candidates and still few of them could win too. A new caste of bahubalis and dabangs emerged this way and the parties started them enrolling and patronising. Their main game was not the politics but to sustain their crimes and to put the laws and law enforcing agencies into their pockets. Thus there started a vicious circle of politics and crime and criminal politicians or politician criminals emerged as a class of it’s own. A stage came in the political journey when even good politicians too nourished these lawbreakers to sustain and force themselves upon electorates when their support base eroded. Capturing booths, looting ballot boxes, threatening polling personnel became rules rather than exceptions in some of the pockets – especially in remote areas not too accessible by transport or communication. And soon we started seeing these lawbreakers in all the political parties. They would provide both – the huge funds as well as the force required for the parties. The nexus had continued unabated and some of the leaders were either working purely on the dictates of these lawbreakers or these lawbreakers themselves became the leaders – many a times ministers. The police force who once arrested them became their body guards.
    Closely attached to this, started demoralisation and captivation of law enforcement agencies. These lawbreakers would often jump to the party in power and would not only escape the law but control and enjoy the law! So jumping over the parties were common for them.
    This grossly happened in Bihar and in UP – the heartland of politics, where the law and law enforcement agencies were made a great mockery. In some way or other this happened in other states too across our country.
    No one Political party can be blamed for this. All the political parties contributed to this and if we dare to count, a good number of lawmakers across political spectrum would be visible in the system today.
    There are only two reasons which contribute to this situation – Money and Force, which, unfortunately, is needed by all the political parties. Money to fund the candidates and Force to ensure the unwilling to vote for and fall in line. All of us know that the huge money may come only from the quarter indulging in unlawful means – they may be in business earning money by wrong doing or in direct crimes exhorting money from the people who have.
    This has been unfortunate for our system that the political parties with huge mandates to rule also need them for no reasons at all. If there would be political will, they may eradicate the menace altogether by effecting reforms in our electoral system.
    The kind of mandate that the BJP commands in the political heartland in the country, they must have the courage not only to say a big NO to these elements to get entry but to encourage the law enforcement agencies to take a very tough stand towards them to kick them out of the system altogether.
    Electoral reforms are need of the hour – refraining from window dressing and doing something concrete. With electronic voting and strict election machinery booth capturing has already gone now. And now something drastic and revolutionary has to be done for Money power affecting the elections. If BJP has the courage to go some extra mile to improve and cleanse the system, it may do it in one gentle stroke. The only question being whether it has the Will to take that leap forward!

  8. You are 100% correct when you say winnabilty is the the morality for political parties. It leads to a very serious question why these parties want to win and capture power, merely for serving people?

  9. What Shekhar is saying is that Modi, inspite of his so called popularity and mass appeal, can not ignore caste politics, winability factor etc when BJP chooses its candidates. So politics is still the same, though most of the castes now vote for BJP and Secular parties have been unable to divide Hindu vote. Thus, Modi has won just half the battle and after consolidating Hindu vote, he needs to weed out such elements from politics and cleanse it. This will require a lot of time for Modi Shah duo to achieve this. We need to support Modi for another one or two terms for this. Good article indeed.

    • So you still believe that Modi and Amit Shah who have become experts at identifying and attracting winnable , criminal candidates to the party and putting them up for election , will then remove all of them and put up clean candidates , who will then go on to win , only because by then a billion Indians will be convinced that Modi is clean and BJP is clean and that both of them want to clean India !

      Bollywood cannot come up with a better script.

      Modi and Amit Shah and the BJP have already cleaned up India.

      The only question is when will they flee the country , like Lalit Modi , Nirav Modi and various others.

    • Modi will rule India for another 50 years with his breath in breath out yoga. By that time all Christians and Muslims will reconvert to Hinduism
      So it will be partying day in and day out

  10. Brilliant piece with plenty of background into. Though sadly highlighting the disgusting state of politics in the country.

  11. There is no BJP. No Congress. There is only Indian society. Every 5 years or so only the label changes in Delhi. Ek hi thaili ke chatte batte.

  12. How is every thing ruined for this MLA? Already most of the witnesses are exterminated. he may be let off or get minimum punishment. Throughout India, a large number of political leaders are like him. But if the votes are caste for the party and not for any candidates, all political parties must not give tickets to the criminals

  13. I have seen many entetaining films , of mafia dons and all , played by venerable actors like Amitabh Bachan but the entertainment quotient provided by the above article in no less , I remember an ad by amitabh bachan who then in the company of ‘bade bhaiyaa’ amar singh had a tag line ,UP mein law hai or something like that , that ad that time had more humor than many of amit’s films

    • The catch line of SP used by Amitabh Bachchan was “UP mein Hai Dham Kunki Jurm yahan hein Kum”.

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