A photograph of a senior IPS officer in Uttar Pradesh who is the police commissioner of Kanpur, one of the state’s largest cities, meeting with a BJP Rajya Sabha MP and retired director general of police has gone viral on social media, as campaigning for the crucial state election become digital because of Covid induced restrictions.
Minutes after the Election Commission finished announcing the poll schedule on Saturday, Asim Kumar Arun, a 1994 batch UP cadre IPS officer who was appointed the police commissioner of Kanpur in March 2021, announced on Facebook that he had sought voluntary retirement from the police, saying he “wanted to serve the nation and society in a different manner”. In the same post, Mr Arun also thanked Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath “for finding him worthy of membership of the Bharatiya Janta Party”.
The sudden announcement by the decorated police officer, who has won multiple medals during his service and is considered an upright officer, raised many eyebrows. Last night, Brij Lal, who served as UP police chief between 2011-12 and is now a BJP Rajya Sabha MP, tweeted a photograph of his meeting with Mr Arun, offering a laddoo to the latter.
Police websites still list Mr Arun as Kanpur police commissioner. He still had atleast 8 years of service left but sources say he has asked the government to expedite his voluntary retirement application.
Asim Arun, whose father was also a decorated police officer who served as DGP in UP, is from the state’s Kannauj district and there is speculation he will contest the assembly elections from a seat in the district.
Before taking over as the first police commissioner of Kanpur last year, Mr Arun served on crucial positions like the head of the emergency helpline 112 and the chief of the Anti-Terror Squad.
Elections for the 403 assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases starting February 10. The polling dates will be February 10, 14, 20, 23, 27, March 3 and 7. The counting of votes will take place on March 10
The battle for Uttar Pradesh will be multi-cornered, where the BJP is pushing for a second term in power. The BJP’s main challenger will be the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party.
Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress is also in the running, the congress is expected to divide the Muslim voter base of the Samajwadi Party.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, the BJP won a landslide victory winning 312 Assembly seats alone and 325 with allies . The party secured a 39.67 per cent vote share in the elections for 403-member Assembly. Samajwadi Party (SP) bagged 47 seats, BSP won 19 while Congress could manage to win only seven seats.