Lucknow: Five-time MLA and the "Robin Hood of Rae Bareli" Akhilesh Singh died at the SGPGI Hospital in Lucknow early on Tuesday morning after a prolonged illness. His last rites will be performed at his ancestral home in the Lalupur village of Rae Bareli.
A local strongman, who had the image of Robin Hood, Akhilesh Singh was known for his bold statements. He was elected from Rae Bareli (Sadar) on a Congress ticket once, Peace Party ticket once and as an independent candidate several times.
Despite his association with the Congress, he was not exactly a stalwart of the party. Often when a member of the Gandhi family would organise a rally in the constituency, Singh was known to hold one of his own on the same day, attracting a bigger crowd than the Gandhis'.
The lawmaker was often hailed with slogans like "Akhilesh Singh ki baat par, mohar lagegi haath par" during election campaigning. His popularity with the Rae Bareli demography was evident even as he distanced himself from the Congress.
His daughter Aditi Singh, however, went to study abroad and returned to join the Congress. She won from her father's constituency in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections with a margin of about 95,000 votes.
A few days before his health deteriorated, the former MLA thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for their decision on the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A, withdrawing Jammu & Kashmir's special status.
“I am not a Congressi, I am an Indian first and I would like to praise and thank PM Modi and HM Amit Shah for abrogating Article 370 and 35A. There are few things which are above party line and Congress people should understand that. Today the entire India has got freedom in real sense,” he had said.