ALIGARH/VRINDAVAN: Moving between Aligarh, Hathras and Vrindavan, Charat Pratap Singh, looks at consummate ease as he tries to galvanise support among the Jats and patrons of King Mahendra Pratap Singh, the freedom fighter who leased a plot, called Tikonia Park in 1929 where Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) stands today.
Charat is the fourth-generation Jat scion of the family, known for charity across western Uttar Pradesh, and is fighting a legal battle with AMU over the 90-year-old lease.
The Jat King in had given the AMU 3.04 acres of land on a 90-year lease in 1929 that expired in 2019 and since then negotiations are going on with the family of Mahendra Pratap Singh.
While these negotiations are on, a disturbed Charat says he wants to avenge the disrespect by AMU by supporting the BJP after PM Narendra Modi and UP CM Yogi Adityanath laid a foundation stone for a state-level university to be set up in his great-grandfather’s memory.
““I am livid with the AMU. I have won half the battle with them by getting a response from them that they would return the school land which is worth Rs 200-crore today. All I want is respect and honour for my great-grandfather. So I have told them they can keep the school land. I rather want to bring the glory and respect of my great-grandfather by supporting BJP in UP 2022 polls,” Charat tells the New Indian.
Charat, until Friday, was eyeing a candidature from Sadabad in Hathras from where BJP has fielded a BSP rebel and four-time MLA Ramveer Upadhyay.
“We have estates in Hathras and vast agricultural land and our supporters are spread between Mathura, Hathras and Aligarh. We intended to fight this time on BJP ticket as Ramveer Upadhyay is bed-ridden. But let’s see now,” says Charat.
For last two decades, Charat has been practising horticulture in Uttarakhand too where the family owns land, sometimes growing apples and expanding business to set up resorts.
While Jats in Uttar Pradesh have backed BJP to an extent in 2014, 2017 and 2019 polls, rallying behind Muzaffarnagar MP Sanjeev Balyan, a prominent Jat leader but this time the protest led by Rakesh Tikait and other farmers have dented prospects of a similar show by the saffron party.
Which is where, Charat, insists he wants to bank upon his father’s legacy to fill the gaps.
“Move by Modi and Yogi to set up a varsity was decided in 2019, much before the storm over farmer protest over three bills. But even then RLD or SP is not getting any support as they know the bills have been withdrawn. Wait for a surprise among Jats,” he says.
He remains buoyant on the prospects of legal battle and negotiations with AMU.
The land in contention is divided into two parts. On one part, AMU City High School is functioning and on the adjoining area, Tikona park is situated.
The family’s request to place the Jat King’s portrait inside AMU and replace Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s portrait was also rejected by the management but Yogi government last year started a probe to locate and ascertain the lease’s locus standi.