Hopes for banknotes have collapsed, but Ashish remains his father’s political heir in his village

In Banveerpur, the village of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, most are prepared to testify that his son Ashish Mishra was present at the scene of a wrestling event on October 3 when a convoy of vehicles, including one belonging to his father, mowed down a group of farmers. , killing four of them and a journalist.

Despite his arrest, Ashish, popular as Monu Bhaiyya, most of the villagers vouch for his innocence.

For them, among his three siblings, Ashish, the eldest, remains Ajay Mishra’s political and commercial heir.

“After Teniji [Ajay Mishra] Having become a member of the seat of Lakhimpur Kheri, it was Monu Bhaiyya who resumed his reign in the district. People who came to meet Teniji to solve their problems started to meet Monu Bhaiyya, ”said Akash Mittal, the 32-year-old pradhan of Banveerpur.

Ashish also took over the day-to-day management of the family business – a rice mill and two gas pumps owned by his father.

According to the villagers, Ashish managed his father’s political campaign in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls. “He was always working behind the scenes and organizing things. Its popularity is unmatched. He is the uttaradhikari (successor) of Ajay Mishra, ”says Amar, a 31-year-old villager.

“Unme jo baat hai, woh Abhimanyu bhaiyya mein nahi hai. Woh thode seedhe hain (the qualities he possesses are not in his brother Abhimanyu, who is rather simple).

A leader of the Samajwadi party in Nighasan, from where Ashish is keen to contest the upcoming assembly ballots on a BJP ticket, said: “His image is not much different from that of his father Ajay. He refuses to talk more about himself. “I have to live here,” he said.

According to Tikonia Station House Officer Balendu Gautam, two cases were filed against Ashish between 2007 and 2009 at the local police station. “They are linked to charges of assault,” said the police officer. He refuses to reveal more.

According to a villager, Banveerpur fears the Mishra family. “No one is going to say anything about Ashish or anyone in his family even after killing four people. Such is their stature in the village,” says the 37-year-old farmer.

Across the Nighasan bloc and Banveerpur, the political ambitions and presence of Ashish are clear – and are there to see on the walls. “Nighasan janta ki pukaar, Monu Bhaiyya ab ki baar (Nighasan people want Monu Bhaiyaa this time),” says one of the slogans painted on a wall.

“He also asked for a spot in the 2017 Assembly polls, but the party featured top leader Patel Ramkumar Verma,” a local BJP leader said, referring to the former political mentor of the minister of the ‘Union. Ties between the two leaders have deteriorated over the years, however, according to party leaders.

Nighasan is currently owned by Verma’s son Shashank, who won the 2019 bypoll on a BJP ticket after his father died.

According to a Lakhimpur Kheri-based BJP leader, the farmers’ deaths may have reduced Ashish’s chances of getting a ticket to the party. “This time Monu had a good chance of getting the ticket to contest from Nighasan, but let’s see what happens now. Shashank is the sitting MP. So it is also a good choice for the BJP, ”he says.

“It’s hard to predict what will happen next, but the incident on October 3 will certainly affect his chances. Tikonia mein bahot bada kaand ho gaya. Poore desh mein baat ho rahi hai (the country talks about what happened in Tikonia), ”he said. “The party is under pressure.

This setback to his political dreams – which has led other ticket hopefuls to jump into the fray in recent days – is perhaps a challenge Ashish would have liked to avoid. Despite his penchant for “kushti” (wrestling).

Villagers and her relatives say Ashish likes a challenge when it comes to wrestling. “He does not hesitate to face a wrestler from the village. Baaki zyada koi shauk nahi, by kushti karte hain (he is passionate about wrestling) ”, explains a local leader of the BJP, close to the Mishra family.

A science graduate from Lucknow University, Ashish married Rinki Mishra from Bheera town in Lakhimpur Kheri in 2014.

“It was an arranged marriage. Monu Bhaiyya’s wife is the sister of BJP leader Achal Mishra. His father Uddhav Shyam Mishra was also associated with BJP, ”says a local BJP leader. The couple have two educated daughters.

While Ashish lived in Banveerpur, his wife and daughters lived in the town of Lakhimpur Kheri. They visited him on weekends, says the village chief.