BJP rebel contesting as Samata candidate
shot dead in Delhi
Samata Party nominee Ved Singh alias Laloo Pehalwan from Nangloi Jat constituency in north-west Delhi was gunned down by car-borne assailants at Mundka village late last night.
This is the first killing of an election candidate in the capital.
Two others accompanying the candidate, a Bharatiya Janata Party rebel contesting on a Samata Party ticket, were injured. They have been admitted to the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital.
Ved Singh was rushed to Jaipur Golden Hospital where he was declared dead.
Mundka village, where the incident took place, is the home of former Delhi chief minister Sahib Singh Verma.
The police have launched a hunt to nab the culprits and tightened security in the city, which goes to the polls on November 25.
The Election Commission has adjourned the poll for the seat. Under the new rules, the Samata Party will be given seven days to name another candidate for the seat.
Ved Singh was pitted against Delhi Transport Minister Devendra Singh Shoukeen and P C Kaushik of the Congress.
The police said a first information report had been lodged, but nobody has been named in it.
The candidate and his companions -- Ishwar Singh and Surender Singh -- residents of Mundka village, were returning home at 2300 hours after a round of campaigning when the assailants struck.
The killing has evoked widespread condemnation from leaders of various political parties. Senior Samata Party politicians, including Defence Minister George Fernandes and Railway Minister Nitish Kumar, visited Mundka village this afternoon.
Samata Party general secretary Jaya Jaitley told reporters later that the party had demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the "political murder".
She said the slain candidate had spoken to Fernandes about the "supporters and family members" of a former chief minister surrounding him and demanding his withdrawal from the electoral fray.
Jaitley said, "We are not in a position to name and blindly accuse anybody. But we fully support the demand of the victim's father who has identified and named the assassins.
She said the Samata Party would rethink its attitude to the BJP after that party spelt out its stand on the right of its allies to contest elections. The party had extended support to the BJP-led government at the Centre reserving its right to contest elections wherever and whenever necessary. "If the BJP is scaring away potential contenders from allied parties by such tactics, we don't accept such a position," she said.
Tourism and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Madan Lal Khurana, a former chief minister of Delhi, condemned the killing as the "first of its kind in the capital", but said "this was not unexpected considering the kind of elements being encouraged during the past few years".
Khurana said he had personally requested Delhi Lt Governor Vijai Kapoor to get the incident investigated at the level of the police commissioner or additional police commissioner.
He said he had also spoken to both Fernandes and Nitish Kumar to express his grief and said he would support them in whatever action they took. But he also emphasised to them the need to rise above party politics.
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