In yet another jibe against the BJP over the Unnao rape case, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday criticised the saffron party after a picture of the rape accused and now expelled BJP MLA, Kuldeep Singh Sengar appeared along with top party leaders in an Independence Day greeting, published in a local newspaper.
Taking a dig at the party, Priyanka said even after the Supreme Court's "rebuke" and the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) report on the case, the BJP "is still inhabited by rape accused Kuldeep Singh Sengar".
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" Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) August 17, 2019
The advertisement inserted in the local edition of a leading daily was given by the Ungu Nagar Panchayat chairman and advocate Anuj Kumar Dikshit, who used the picture of the Bangarmau legislator and his wife Sangeeta Singh Sengar.
Ungu falls under the Bangarmau Assembly segment and it was Sengar who reportedly brought Dikshit into the BJP fold.
The advertisement featured Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, state BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh and Uttar Pradesh Assembly speaker Hriday Narain Dikshit.
When approached by the media, Dikshit defended his decision to post the ad with Sengar's picture. "He (Kuldeep Singh Sengar) is the MLA of our area that is why his photo is there. Till the time he is our MLA, his photo can be put," Dikshit was quoted by ANI as saying.
Photo of Unnao rape accused MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar seen in Independence Day greetings published by Unnao Nagar Panchayat Chairman Anuj Kumar Dikshit in a newspaper, says, "He is MLA of our area that is why his photo is there. Till the time he is our MLA his photo can be put." pic.twitter.com/OTEJFNu0Ut
" ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) August 16, 2019
Party spokesperson Shalabhmani Tripathi had said, "It might have been someone's personal choice to give Sengar's photograph. It has nothing to do with the party or the state government."
"Whatever had to be done by the party or by the government, has been done. We have no sympathy for Sengar," he told PTI in Lucknow.
The advertisement is being seen as a fresh embarrassment for the BJP, days after its Hardoi legislator Ashish Singh Ashu sympathised with Sengar and wished that he could overcome his "difficult times".
Sengar, who is in the jail for a year now, was expelled by the BJP after the CBI registered an FIR against him in connection with an accident involving the Unnao rape survivor's car on 28 July.
Two aunts of the rape survivor were killed in the allegedly staged accident while she, along with her lawyer, was seriously injured. Sengar is accused of raping the teen at his residence in Unnao in 2017. The survivor was 17 years old at the time of the incident.
Soon after the accident, Priyanka tweeted about the details of the case's progress and questioned on 29 July why the BJP had not been suspended yet.
Does it have no moral duty towards its citizens anymore, or was that never on its agenda anyway?#Unnao
" Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) July 29, 2019
For God's sake, Mr. Prime Minister, divest this criminal and his brother of the political power your party is giving them.
Its still not too late.#BJPSackSengar
" Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) July 30, 2019
On 1 August, when Sengar was expelled by the BJP, Priyanka said the saffron party has acknowledged having empowered a criminal.
Thank you to all the girls from Lucknow for coming out so strongly in support of #UnnaoKiBeti, if all of us stand together, we can force those who empower rapists and criminals into consciousness and change. #EnoughIsEnough pic.twitter.com/mgRiRPYTFH
" Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) August 3, 2019
With inputs from PTI