Amethi: A close aide of former Union minister Smriti Irani, who emerged as the giant-slayer by ending the traditional hegemony of Gandhi family over Amethi, was murdered outside his house just a day after the election upset delivered to the Congress in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Surendra Singh, ex-pradhan or village head of Baraulia village was shot dead by unknown assailants. The incident is largely being dubbed as a political killing allegedly by Congress supporters after Rahul Gandhi’s defeat.

Talking to MyNation, close associates of Irani said Singh was a peaceful person, though he was among the closest to Irani and that his death had come as a personal loss to her.

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Incidentally, Baraulia had voted en masse for Irani and was one of the top villages from where Irani returned huge margins over Gandhi. Also, this was the village that was adopted by the former defence minister and ex-chief minister of Goa late Manohar Parrikar. “He had given Baraulia some Rs 16 crore for development and Surendra Singh was the engine behind that,” said a BJP worker.

Singh was the gram pradhan for nearly 20 years and was a dedicated activist of BJP. “This is a political killing, plain and simple. Singh was a peace-loving mild-mannered person and he had no issues with people to the extent that someone would kill him. Just before his death, he had met Smriti Irani at a village not five kilometres from his own,” said a close-aide of Irani.

Singh’s son said, “My father was a close aide of Smriti Irani and used to campaign 24/7 for her. After she became MP, a ‘Vijay Yatra’ was carried out. I think some Congress supporters didn't like it; we have suspicions on some people.”

Singh was gunned down while he was sleeping outside his house near a new temple that he had constructed very recently. He was taken to Rae Bareilly after being shot and then to Lucknow where he was declared dead on arrival.