Days after courting controversy by offering a ticket to Shambhulal Regar, the man arrested for burning and lynching a Muslim man in Rajasthan's Rajsamand in December 2017, the Uttar Pradesh Navnirman Sena has, once again, raised eyebrows by giving a party ticket to one of the main accused in the Dadri lynching case for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Rupendra Rana will contest the polls from the Gautam Budh Nagar constituency in Noida.
Sena chief Amit Jani was quoted as saying by The Times of India that he believes "Rana is the perfect person to protect cows as he has spent 2.5 years in prison for the respect of gaumata".
"Rather than making false promises of doing something for cows, Rana had proven his commitment to cows in 2015," Jani said.
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" Amit Jani (@AmitJaniIND) September 23, 2018
The party president is expected to make a formal announcement on Rana's candidacy on Monday in Bishada, the village in Uttar Pradesh's Dadri district where Rana and 17 others had allegedly attacked Mohammed Akhlaq and his son Danish on 28 September, 2015, on suspicion of eating beef. Akhlaq had succumbed to his injuries on the spot. Of the 18 accused, three were juveniles, who are out on bail. Rana, too, was given bail after spending two and a half years in prison.
When questioned about why the Navnirman Sena was choosing to nominate controversial figures for the Lok Sabha elections, Jani said, according to Firstpost Hindi, that his party was fielding Hindu-leaning candidates as it wanted a "pro-Hindu government" in India. He added that the Sena will hold a Hindu rally on 14 October and a "Dharma Parishad" on 18 November.
After offering a ticket from Agra to hate crime-accused Regar, Jani had said the Navnirman Sena only wants "Hindutva faces to contest elections" on its tickets and "there can be nobody better than him". He had claimed that he had met people in Rajasthan who supported Regar and lauded his efforts to "save Hindutva".
The Uttar Pradesh Navnirman Sena, a lesser-known political outfit in the state, has also decided to field the father of the two brothers, whose lynching allegedly by a Muslim mob is believed to be one of the reasons that triggered the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013. Sachin and Gaurav Singh's father will contest the Lok Sabha elections from the Muzaffarnagar seat, Firstpost Hindi reported.