Ex-PM Chandra Shekhar’s Relatives Campaign For BJP In UP Poll, Criticised


The BJP sent former PM Chandra Shekhar’s son Neeraj Shekhar to Rajya Sabha.

Ballia:

The ongoing Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh is witnessing some family members of socialist leader and former prime minister Chandra Shekhar canvassing for the BJP, which their critics described as an “opportunistic” move.

Chandra Shekhar’s native village is Ibrahimpatti located in Bilthara Road assembly constituency under the Salempur Lok Sabha constituency in Ballia.

Neeraj Shekhar, son of the former prime minister, and Chandra Shekhar’s grandson Ravishankar Singh ‘Pappu’ are working for the BJP in this Assembly elections.

“The BJP after its establishment in 1980 has been taking forward the ideology of socialism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always been giving respect to Chandra Shekhar ji,” Neeraj Shekhar told news agency PTI.

Asked as to why he was supporting the BJP, a party Chandra Shekhar always opposed, Neeraj Shekhar did not give a direct reply.

“I am happy that the entire family is in the one party — the BJP. Ideologically, I am a socialist, and now, socialism is only present in the BJP,” he said.

Neeraj Shekhar had been a two-time Lok Sabha MP from Ballia before he lost the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to the BJP’s Bharat Singh.

After this, he was sent to Rajya Sabha by the Samajwadi Party. However, in 2019, Neeraj Shekhar switched over to the BJP angry over the SP not giving a Lok Sabha ticket.ย The BJP sent him to the Upper House.

Chandra Shekhar’s grandson Ravishankar Singh ‘Pappu’, who had joined the BJP before the Assembly elections, told news agency PTI, “Socialism is not the fiefdom of any one party. The BJP is taking forward the socialism, which Chandra Shekhar made efforts to defend.”

Recently, during the election meetings, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh paid tributes to the former prime minister in their speeches.

However, old-timers, who were associated with Chandrashekhar, reject the reasons given by the former PM’s relatives for them to join the BJP.

Kamlesh Singh, former chairman of the district co-operative bank who was also associated with the former PM, told PTI, “Chandra Shekhar had always opposed the communal policies of the BJP. Owing to his principles, he set aside his good relationship with former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and never supported the BJP.”

He added that during the vote of confidence in 1999, he did not support the then Vajpayee government, and it fell by one vote.

“Today, his heirs are terming the BJP as a socialist by birth (‘janmajaat samajwadi’), and are campaigning for the BJP. This is height of opportunism.” Akhilesh Singh, the principal of Sri Murli Manohar Town Inter College who has penned a book on the life and thoughts of Chandra Shekhar, said,

“The former PM opposed the BJP and the other fascist forces. Chandra Shekhar and his family members had never supported the BJP,” he said.

“But, now it is his heirs who are campaigning for the party (BJP), against whom he always fought. For them opportunistic behaviour has become more important,” he added.

Ballia will go to polls in the sixth phase of the elections, and will vote on March 3.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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