BJP’s Kairana MP Hukum Singh, seven-term MLA, dies

Two years ago, when UP polls were nearing, Singh alleged that 346 Hindu families had been forced to migrate from the western UP town of Kairana due to atrocities unleased by “one particular community”.

BJP MP Hukum Singh.

BJP MP from Kairana, Hukum Singh, who was suffering from breathing problems, died at J P Hospital in Noida on Saturday. Singh, who was admitted to the hospital for nearly a month, was 79.

A seven-time MLA from UP and state ministers under both BJP and Congress governments, Singh had entered the Lok Sabha for the first time in 2014. Condoling his death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter, “Anguished by the demise of MP and veteran leader from Uttar Pradesh, Shri Hukum Singh Ji. He served the people of UP with great diligence and worked for the welfare of farmers. My thoughts are with his family and supporters in this hour of grief.” Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will visit Kairana on Sunday to attend Singh’s last rites.

Survived by his five daughters, the last four years saw Singh making several headlines.

It began with the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, when Singh, who had been in electoral politics for over 40 years, attended a September 7 mahapanchayat at Budhana area of the district. Riots erupted soon after. While several BJP leaders were booked for making hate speeches at the mahapanchayat, Singh had claimed he did not use one provocative word in his two-minute speech.

Two years ago, when UP polls were nearing, Singh alleged that 346 Hindu families had been forced to migrate from the western UP town of Kairana due to atrocities unleased by “one particular community”. BJP went on to include the “exodus” issue in its election manifesto for the 2017 UP polls, promising to release a white paper and set up a department in every district to prevent such “exodus”.

Singh had started his political career with the Congress in 1974, winning his first election from Kairana. A two-time MLA from Congress and one-term Janata Party (Secular) legislator, he joined BJP in 1995. As the BJP candidate, he won from Kairana in 1996, 2002, 2007 and 2012. While he lost the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, he won in 2014.

Politics, however, was not Singh’s first calling. A law graduate from Allahabad University, he used to practice law before he cleared PCS (J) exams in 1963. But instead of becoming a judicial officer, he joined the Army as a commissioned officer as China attacked India. He also took part in the 1965 Pakistan war. He then took voluntary retirement and went back to practice law in Muzaffarnagar in 1969.

Singh, who hails from OBC Gurjar community, did not have a RSS or BJP background. In fact, his position had largely been centrist or closer to socialists. He left only after Congress’ successive defeats in the 1989, 1991 and 1993 polls. He went on to become a BJP MLA in 1996 and had been with the party since then.

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