BAHRAICH: In 'Madad Palace' of a BJP leader in Uttar Pradesh, almost all religions have found a place.
Every morning, Arunveer Singh offers prayers at a temple, mosque, gurdwara and church at his home in Hariharpur Raikwari village in Bahraich district.
The practice has been going on in his house, popularly called Madad Palace, for the past about five decades.
Arunveer Singh (59), who is fighting the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections from the Muslim-dominant Matera seat, believes that the age-old communal harmony being practiced at the palace will help him in the polls.
His father Yashveer Singh had built the places of worship in Madad Palace in 1967.
The purpose was that the palace could represent the mixed culture of the village and surrounding areas, and where people of all faiths could worship.
"Respect for mixed culture is in our blood. Our grandfather Late Yashveer Singh had built a temple, mosque, gurdwara, church as well as Lord Buddha's temple in this palace so that people of all religions could worship here," Arunveer's son Karanvir told PTI.
"The doors of the palace were always open for the needy. Maybe that's why the palace was named Madad," he said.
"Our village has a mixed population. When we have a havan in the palace, people from the Muslim community also sit together. We also attend their events in the same way," Karanvir said.
Arunveer Singh said that he is proud that he truly represents Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of equal development of all.
"I claim with pride in all election speeches that I have fully imbibed PM Modi's slogan 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas'. We rise above caste and religion and work for all including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists," he said.
Arunveer Singh had joined the BJP in 2016 from the Samajwadi Party (SP).
He has been a member of the Legislative Council once from local bodies' constituency and twice the member of the Legislative Assembly from the Fakharpur seat during the old delimitation when he was in the SP.
Arunveer's younger brother Atulveer's wife Manju Singh is the chairman of zila panchayat.
Arunveer said that though Matera is a Muslim majority area, given the image of his family and also his own, he expects to get the votes of Muslims as well in the election.
Former cabinet minister and SP leader Yasar Shah is the current MLA from the seat.
In the 2017 elections, Yasar Shah had defeated Arunveer by about 1,500 votes.
This time the SP has fielded Yasar Shah's wife Maria Shah from Matera.
The Congress has given the ticket to Ali Akbar, who had finished second in the 2012 state elections.
The AIMIM and the BSP have also fielded candidates from the Muslim communities.
Voting for the Matera seat will be held on February 27 in the fifth phase of the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.