Battle for UP: On protest for 26 years, ex-teacher to contest against Yogi

He has been on protest for 26 years and now has decided to contest against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from Gorakhpur.

Vijay Singh, 59, a former school teacher, said, “I have done everything within my means to free the government land from the clutches of the mafia. In 2012, I met the then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav who set up a committee to probe my complaint but nothing happened afterwards. When Yogi became chief minister, I approached him and he assured me of an impartial inquiry, which had confirmed the authenticity of my claim in its report in 2019.I have visited Lucknow 30 times but no action has been taken to reclaim the land.”

Singh was ‘deeply disturbed’ by the grabbing of public land in his Chhudana village by the land mafia in 1996 and he quit his job and sat on a dharna at Muzaffarnagar collectorate to protest against encroachment of public land. His battle against the land mafia earned him space in several books of record but failed to spur the successive regimes in Uttar Pradesh.

“Now, I will go to the public. Let them see what this system has done to me. Twenty-six years is not a short time. I have given my life for a just cause,” he said.

During his 26-year-long protest, Singh sacrificed his family life, faced several threats and total government apathy. He saw Shamli district being carved out of Muzaffarnagar but did not budge from his protest site at Muzaffarnagar collectorate.

Two years ago, when the then district magistrate got him evicted from his dharna spot, he took up a position in the city’s Shiv Chowk area.

In 2012, Singh even undertook a 600-km padyatra to Lucknow to meet then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, but failed to meet him.

In 2019, Singh took recourse to the Right to Information Act and received the answer he always knew in November 2021 — that one Jagat Singh and his several associates are in possession of government land in the Chhudana village by forging documents. The 17-page report also revealed that the inquiry was finished in October 2019.

“I am contesting against Yogi Adityanath and will also distribute pamphlets in Karhal against Akhilesh Yadav,” he said.

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