Lucknow: Even as dates of three-tier panchayat polls are yet to be announced, political rivalry has started taking lives in Uttar Pradesh. A BSP leader, Ritesh Maurya, was shot dead in Gagha area of Gorakhpur when he was returning home late Wednesday night after campaigning.
Eyewitnesses said that they saw two mobike-borne assailants stopping Maurya at Hatwa Crossing in Gagha area and firing two shots point-blank at Maurya’s chest and head. After gunning down the BSP leader, they sped away on the mobike.
Gorakhpur is the hometown of the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Maurya was a close aide of Cabinet Minister Swami Prasad Maurya when the latter was in the BSP. He had fought the Zila Panchayat polls last time but had lost. He was contesting polls again and was considered a formidable candidate after the seat was declared reserved last month.
Deceased’s friends said that he was threatened by his rivals two days ago but Maurya had taken their threat lightly.
The police rushed to the spot and took the BSP leader to the district hospital where he was declared brought dead. Maurya was a contractor by profession. He is survived by his wife and three children.
“Political rivalry seems to be the reason behind the murder but we are looking into all angles. A case has been registered against unidentified assailants and three teams have been formed to identify and arrest assailants,” said Jogendra Singh, Assistant Superintendent of Police.