Lucknow: Kuldeep Sengar would have remained just one of the 403 legislators in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, had it not been for the Unnao rape case that made it to the headlines on April 8, 2018 when the rape victim attempted to immolate herself in front of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence.
The event hurtled into a major controversy when her father died in police custody the following day and video clips of him being brutally beaten by Kuldeep Sengar’s brother Atul Sengar emerged on social media.
The Yogi government lost no time in handing over the matter to the CBI and on April 13, Kuldeep Sengar was arrested.
Kuldeep Sengar started his political career with the Congress in the late nineties but in 2002, he shifted to the Bahujan Samaj Party and won his first election from the Unnao Sadar seat. This was the first time that the BSP won this seat.
Sengar later joined the Samajwadi Party and won the 2007 elections from Bangarmau seat. He was asked to contest the Bhagwant Nagar seat in Unnao in 2012 and won the election.
Sengar’s clout is evident from the fact that he won three consecutive elections from different seats in the same district.
After Mulayam Singh Yadav’s exit from the Samajwadi Party’s leadership, Sengar joined the BJP and won the 2017 elections again from the Bangarmau seat.
The rape charges against Sengar shocked almost all his colleagues who found him to be a ‘sensitive and harmless politician whose popularity was mainly because of his accessible and generous nature’.
The charges against Sengar have a background that has remained unexplored.
The rape survivor’s father was close associate of Kuldeep Sengar and their families were equally close.
Differences between the two started emerging when Kuldeep Sengar fielded his wife Sangeeta Sengar for the post of chairman of the zila panchayat.
The rape survivor’s family wanted the girl’s mother to contest the seat but Sangeeta effortlessly won the election. This created a divide between the two families which kept deepening as Sengar went on to win his fourth election in 2017.
There were also differences between the two over distribution of contracts in the constituency.
“We all know that the rape survivor’s father was an acolyte of Kuldeep Sengar and the whole case was set up to malign his image. The media has also played a role in conducting a media trial. No one ever asked the rape survivor why she did not name the legislator in her first FIR? Why did she not raise the issue when Sengar won the election? Why did she wait for one year before accusing the police of inaction?” said a BJP MLA.
He added that the rape survivor’s uncle, who is presently in jail in an attempt to murder case, is also guilty of forgery. “But no one is talking of the family’s credentials?,” the legislator said.
BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj, who won the recent Lok Sabha election mainly because Sengar extended his support to him from the jail, later visited the Sitapur jail to personally thank the legislator. The incident was again used to target Sengar.
Kuldeep Sengar’s growing influence in Unnao, apparently, earned him several enemies even within the BJP.