Hundreds of supporters of Sarvesh Singh took to the streets screaming anti-government slogans, attacking police posts and setting fire to scores of vehicles following the killing of Sarvesh Singh.
There were conflicting versions of how he was murdered.
Police said the killers barged into his house and opened fire at the BSP leader, who was previously in the Samajwadi Party, and his guard. Both men died on the spot.
But his supporters blamed the cops for the murder, saying a police inspector had summoned him to a police station and Sarvesh Singh was shot dead while returning home.
As tension spread, worried traders downed their shutters in the town.
Unable to control the mobs, police fired at the crowd, killing a businessman. Two civilians, including a journalist were injured. A dozen policemen have also been reportedly injured in brickbatting. The violence subsided later but tension prevailed in the town.
BSP leader Naseemuddin Siddiqui said that the ‘worst fears’ of his party were turning true. “Our party leader Mayawati has said that criminals are ruling the roost in the state and that nobody is safe,” he said.
Other parties said the killing was proof that UP was in the grip of ‘jungle raj’.
State BJP president Laxmikant Bajpai warned that the Samajwadi Party regime would pay for the law and order mess in the next election.
“Rapes have become the order of the day. Gang wars are taking place, and now even senior politicians are being killed in broad daylight,” said Bajpai.
BSP’s Swamy Prasad Maurya said it was the ‘misfortune of the people of UP’ that the state had such ‘a pathetic government’.