The RLD President Jayant Chaudhary became one of the few leaders who were able to reach the violence hit-Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh and said that he was able to do so by using "guerilla tactics" on October 4.
Jayant Chaudhary, the former vice-president of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), was a member of Parliament from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh in the 15th Lok Sabha from 2009 to 2014. He is the son of RLD chief Ajit Singh and grandson of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh.
Jayant Chaudhary was appointed as the new national president of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in May 2021. The decision to elevate the 42-year-old, who was till now the party vice president, was taken during a virtual meeting of the party's national executive.
His elevation to the post comes following the demise of party president and his father Ajit Singh, who had succumbed to Covid-19 on May 6.
Jayant has been a vocal critic of the 1894 land acquisition law and the large-scale acquisition of fertile lands in Uttar Pradesh. He was at the forefront of a number of agitations to protest the unfair acquisition of land in the state and in particular the agitations in the Noida, Greater Noida, Mathura, Hathras, Agra and Aligarh districts.
Jayant Chaudhary on Tuesday slammed the Yogi Adityanath government and said that the entire state machinery under the chief minister is trying to suppress the truth behind the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and are trying to stop the opposition and people who are moving forward with the truth.
The Uttar Pradesh government has stopped the Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Rahul Gandhi, and even Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel to reach the incident site and meet the families of the farmers and others who were killed while protesting in UP's Lakhimpur Kheri while protesting. Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav was also stopped while he was on his way to meet the families. UP police did not allow them to go to Lakhimpur since Monday, before finally getting permission on Wednesday.
“Reaching Lakhimpur was a tough task because Yogi has put the entire government machinery to work towards thwarting the Opposition. There needs to be a separation between the state and the party which is not there in UP… from the district magistrate to state-level officials, police, it seems everyone has taken membership of the BJP,” Chaudhary alleged in a phone interview to PTI.
All roads to Lakhimpur Kheri, about 130km from Lucknow, have been blocked for Opposition leaders. It took 13 hours to reach Lakhimpur Kheri from Delhi, several hours more than it would take to cover the 420km-odd distance.
His was a ‘guerrilla’ journey that took hours, involved changing multiple vehicles as the police were chasing him, he hid his face with a gamcha (towel) at many locations to get past the police and reached Chaukada village in Lakhimpur on the night of October 4 where Chaudhary finally met the families of some of the farmer victims.
Four of the eight killed in Sunday's violence in Lakhimpur Kheri were farmers, allegedly knocked down by vehicles driven by BJP workers traveling to welcome Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to an event in the area. The others were identified as BJP workers and their drivers who were allegedly pulled out of the vehicles and attacked by the protesters.
The Uttar Pradesh Police has lodged a case against Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra's son Ashish but no arrest has been made so far.
Jayant Chaudhary also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Lucknow for an event on Tuesday, should express regret for the "failures of his government".
"The PM should also express regret that even after ten months, farmers are sitting on the road."
Talking about his meeting with the victims' families, the RLD chief said a panchayat was being held when he reached the village in Lakhimpur Kheri.
(with inputs from sources)