With the Modi wave seemingly in full flow, it seems that all sorts of people are tumbling out of the woodwork to support him. And for the BJP, which does not want a repeat of its 2004 debacle, support from all quarters it seems, is welcome.
However, the fact that one of the key campaigners for the party in Madhya Pradesh is an ex-dacoit is still unusual by most standards.
According to a report on IBN7, Malkhan Singh, who was a symbol of terror for 15 long years in the Chambal ravines of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, is now actively campaigning for the BJP in Gwalior and Bhind.
According to the report, Singh is keen that Modi "try his best to tackle the menace of terrorism, Naxalism and violence across the border in the country".
The irony seems lost on the 70-year-old who still sports his 'straight from the movies' handlebar mustache.
Singh, along with 100 members of his gang, surrendered before the police in the presence of the then Chief Minister Arjun Singh on 17 June, 1982. He had more than 75 cases against him of dacoity, encounter with the police and kidnapping. It is said that Malkhan was literally running a parallel government in the Chambal in those times and he was a self-styled-arbitrator of local disputes.
Despite his chequered past however, Singh says that the response he has been getting in Madhya Pradesh is encouraging, and will go a long way towards helping Narendra Modi achieve his Prime Ministerial dreams.
And it's not like he's doing this on his own time. The former dacoit has also shared the stage with the state chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and is billed as one of the key campaigners in the state.
His reasons for supporting Modi are many. Firstly, he does not like the 'silence' of Manmohan Singh and secondly he likes the work that Modi has done in Gujarat.
However, the IBN 7 report states, "Malkhan Singh's new-found love for the BJP is also because of the apathy of the successive previous Congress regimes in the state towards the promises made to his gang at the time of unconditional surrender. If Malkhan Singh and members of his gang are to be believed, then they were rehabilitated by the judiciary and not by the then Congress government."
Whether this will change under a 'Modi sarkar' is debatable. But the former Chambal bandit clearly has high hopes and is hitching his wagon to the BJP's prime ministerial candidate.
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Updated Date: Apr 21, 2014 13:08:40 IST