BJP leader arrested for murder in Jharkhand

Even before the first vote could be cast for the general elections, Jharkhand witnessed its first blood spill earlier this month when armed assailants shot dead an influential All Jharkhand Students’ Union (AJSU) leader Tileshwar Sahu in broad daylight at Barhi, nearly 150 kilometres from Ranchi.

Initially, it was suspected that the murder was the handiwork of a splinter group of Maoists, owing allegiance to the People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI).

However, when Jharkhand Police apprehended the alleged shooter, the killing turned out to be political. Soon thereafter, BJP leader Vinod Yadav, who is said to behind the killing, was also arrested.

A strong leader of the Vaishyas – an OBC community which forms the backbone of the BJP – Sahu was campaigning on March 9 for AJSU candidate Loknath Mahto, when the assailants pumped bullets into his chest, killing him on the spot. Tileshwar, the firebrand AJSU general secretary, used to travel with four armed bodyguards in a bullet-proof SUV. Nearly 15,000 of his supporters were present at the scene of the killing. Supporters chased the assailants and nabbed one of them, who later spilled the beans.

Though the police have not named a political party for the killing, the Vinod Yadav’s arrest has made it obvious, upsetting the BJP applecart.

Incidentally, AJSU Lok Sabha candidate Loknath Mahto was a three-term BJP legislator from Barkagaon (one of the Assembly segments in Hazaribagh), before he severed ties with the saffron party following irreconcilable differences with party MP Yashwant Sinha.

 “The death of Tileshwar is a personal loss to me and also to the party,” said AJSU president Sudesh Mahto, who was the former deputy chief minister of Jharkhand in the BJP-led Arjun Munda Government.

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