August 13, 2016 3:06:27 am
Hours before he was shot at by gunmen in Ghaziabad, BJP leader Brijpal Teotia had addressed a party dharna at the Ghaziabad collectorate against the Bulandshahr gangrape incident and then visited a family in Muradnagar to condole a death.
Teotia is considered a dedicated and active party leader in the district, wielding influence among farmers and the Jat community. This was evident when he was shifted to an hospital after the attack — two union ministers visited him at Fortis Hospital, an additional director general of police (law and order) and senior IPS officers of western UP were rushed to the spot and several teams have been formed to probe the shooting.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh was among the first to visit Brijpal Teotia. Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma soon followed, and then it was the turn of General V K Singh and BJP state president Keshav Prasad Maurya Friday.
A local leader from Ghaziabad, Teotia, a prominent Jat leader in western UP, warranted such high profile visits and immediate action. Considered a close confidant of Rajnath Singh, sources in the BJP said Teotia and Singh grew close when the latter became Chief Minister of UP in 2000. When Singh contested the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from Ghaziabad, Teotia regularly campaigned for him. “Nobody can contest from Ghaziabad without support from Teotia. That’s why all leaders from Noida and Ghaziabad (Sharma and V K Singh) came to visit him,” said a senior BJP leader.
Considered a powerful farmer leader, Teotia defected to the Rashtriya Lok Dal in 2007 to unsuccessfully contest the assembly elections from Muradnagar. But in 2009, he still campaigned for Rajnath Singh in Ghaziabad. Teotia had contested 2012 Assembly elections from Muradnagar under a BJP ticket and lost after securing 52,563 votes— the highest vote share BJP had ever recorded in the constituency. Teotia had lost the election from the same seat in 2007, as a candidate of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), and had been a state office-bearer in the party.
Teotia contested his first municipal corporation elections in 1995. He was re-elected as municipal councillor in 2000 again. But his aspirations to get an assembly election ticket made him leave BJP. A source close to Teotia said he went to Lok Dal, along with Anuradha Choudhary. He also grew close to Ajit Singh by virtue of being a farmers’ leader.
Sources said Teotia, who owns large tracts of agricultural land in Ghaziabad, also runs a property business. Teotia lived in Mehrauli village of Ghaziabad and later shifted to his Kavi Nagar residence. Sources said both sons of Rajnath Singh also visited the hospital where Teotia is admitted.
“The family got a lot of local support from him during and after elections and so do all leaders who came to contest in Ghaziabad. Dr Mahesh Sharma has known him for years as both were active in politics and were from the same region. He has helped many without asking for anything and that is the reason you could see so much political presence,” said a close friend of Teotia.
Sources said Teotia had been preparing for the 2017 assembly polls and was spending maximum time in Muradnagar. Former Ghaziabad district president Ashok Moga said Teotia was focused on his Assembly constituency and he used to visit at least 20 places in Muradnagar every day to meet people.
Though Teotia is not an MLA, he is known in Muradnagar as ‘Vidhayak ji’ and hundreds of people visit his bungalow in Kavi Nagar area every morning, seeking his help in redressal of their grievances.
“Because of his closeness to Rajnath Singh, Teotia gets genuine problems of local people redressed. He even takes local people to meet Rajnath in Delhi. Local M P VK Singh and mayor Ashu Verma also help Teotia in attending to complaints of the public,” said a BJP district unit office-bearer.
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