Smriti Irani’s aide shot dead in Amethi

Amethi: A close aide of Smriti Irani, the newly elected MP from Amethi Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh, was shot dead by two men, with police not ruling out the possibility of it being a political murder.

Surendra Singh (50), a former head of Baraulia village, was shot at around 11.30 pm Saturday, said Additional Superintendent of Police Daya Ram. He was referred to a Lucknow hospital but he succumbed during treatment, Ram said. Six suspects have been detained for questioning, police said.

Baraulia was in the news during the general election campaign after Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accused Irani of distributing shoes to the village residents in order to insult Rahul Gandhi, the BJP leader’s main opponent in the constituency.

Irani defeated the Congress president on Amethi seat, for long a Gandhi family bastion. BJP convenor of Amethi Lok Sabha seat Rajesh Agrahari told PTI, “Considering the fact that the Congress is disappointed, especially after the defeat of its party president in Amethi, a high-level probe should be ordered, and the guilty should be punished.”

“Surendra Singh was a popular and active grassroots level leader, and a close aide of MP Smriti Irani. He and other party leaders were actively involved in distribution of shoes,” he added.

Amethi Superintendent of Police Rajesh Kumar did not rule out the possibility of the crime being a political murder. “The incident cannot be ruled out to be a political murder. All aspects are being probed. There can be old enmity as well,” the SP said.

Smriti Irani emerged as BJP’s giant killer after defeating Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi by a margin of 55,120 votes, dealing a major blow to the grand old party. The Congress leader had been winning from Amethi from the 2004 Lok Sabha election.