Gorakhpur, UP: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday drew flak for sharing the stage with murder- accused MLA Amanmani Tripathi at a party event in Gorakhpur, with the opposition alleging that it had exposed the real face of the BJP leader who had promised to clamp down on criminals. Mr Tripathi, an Independent legislator who is facing charge of murdering his wife, sat a few seats away from Mr Adityanath at the programme organised by BJP on Saturday and sought the Chief Minister's blessings by touching his feet. He also handed over some papers to the Chief Minister during his brief interaction.
The 35-year-old MLA from Nautanwa assembly in neighbouring Maharajganj district again met the chief minister today at his 'Janata Darbar' where he listens to people's grievances, triggering speculation that the controversial legislator could be joining the BJP.
Later, Mr Tripathi told reporters that he was not averse to it.
"Maharaj ji is my guardian. His order will be the last word for me," he told reporters outside Gorakhnath Mutt, where the CM was staying.
Asked whether he will join the BJP, he said, "Why not? Whatever Maharaj ji tells me, I will do."
Amanmani's father Amarmani Tripathi, who was a minister in the SP government headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav, has been serving life sentence in the sensational Madhumita Shukla murder case.
Opposition parties lashed out at Mr Adityanath, saying his deeds do not match his words. The BJP had made law and order a major election issue and immediately after taking charge, the Chief Minister had said that criminals should leave the state or face consequences.
"There is a clear cut difference in the words and actions of Yogi Adityanath. Law and order situation in UP is yet to improve. Ironically the law makers are turning into law breakers. There is no rule of law in the state," Rajendra Chaudhary, chief spokesperson of UP unit of Samajwadi Party, told PTI.
UP Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh said the "USP" of the BJP is that it possesses a dual face, so that it could easily switch sides. "A murder-accused sharing a stage with UP Chief Minister is simply shameful," he said.
Mr Tripathi was denied a ticket by the Samajwadi Party after his name cropped up in his wife's murder case. He was granted bail in March this year.
After the row over the issue, BJP workers said they were surprised to see the MLA sharing the stage with Adityanath. BJP's Gorakhpur unit spokesperson Satyendra Sinha, however, said that, "Any public representative can greet the chief minister and touch his feet. There is nothing wrong in it."
State president of Rashtriya Kisan Manch Shekhar Dixit, said, "It is ironical that on one hand the UP CM says that he will not tolerate anti-social and criminal elements in the state, but he happily shares the stage with a murder accused."
Mr Tripathi was arrested and sent to jail on November 25, 2016 for his wife's murder and was charge sheeted on February 18.
As he tried to meet the CM today at the 'Janata Darbar', he was initially stopped by members of Aditynath's Hindu Yuva Vahini as the outfit was holding a meeting at that time.