Unnao (UP): Rape accused MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar may have been expelled from the BJP but he found a prominent place along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an advertisement given by a party leader on the occasion of Independence Day.
In the advertisement inserted in the local edition of a leading daily, Ungu Nagar Panchayat chairman Anuj Kumar Dixit used the picture of the Bangarmau legislator and his wife Sangeeta Singh Sengar, who is the chairman of the zila panchayat.
Ungu falls under the the Bangarmau assembly segment and it was Sengar who had reportedly brought Dixit into the BJP fold.
The advertisement also has pictures of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, state BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh and Uttar Pradesh assembly speaker Hriday Narain Dixit.
Dixit, when approached by the media, defended himself for giving Sengar's picture.
He said, "It is there as he is the MLA of our area."
The BJP has distanced itself from the controversy.
Party spokesperson Shalabhmani Tripathi said, "It might have been someone's personal choice to give Sengar's photograph. It has nothing to do with the party or the state government."
"Whatever had to be done by the party or by the government, has been done. We have no sympathy for Sengar," he told PTI in Lucknow.
The advertisement is being seen as a fresh embarrassment to the BJP, days after its Hardoi legislator Ashish Singh Ashu sympathised with Sengar and wished him to overcome his "difficult times".
Sengar, who is in the jail for a year now, was expelled by the BJP after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered an FIR against him in connection with an accident involving the Unnao rape victim's car on July 28.
Two aunts of the rape victim were killed in the accident while she, along with her lawyer, was seriously injured.
Sengar is accused of raping the girl at his residence in Unnao in 2017.
The victim was 17 years of age at the time of the incident.
A case was registered after she tried to immolate herself outside the residence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in April last year.
A day after the self-immolation bid, her father died in police custody.
After the Supreme Court took notice of the letter written by the victim's family, expressing apprehensions over their security, Sengar was shifted to the Tihar Jail in Delhi and the victim was sent to AIIMS, New Delhi, for better treatment.
On July 27, when the girl, her two aunts and lawyer were going to meet her uncle at a Rae Bareli jail, their car was hit by a truck.
Her uncle has been to sent to the jail in a two-decade old case for allegedly beating Sengar's brother.
The victim's family had alleged that the accident was a bid to kill her.