A former pradhan considered close to newly elected Amethi MP Smriti Irani was shot dead by unidentified assailants, the police said on Sunday.Surendra Singh, the former pradhan of Bisauli village, had actively campaigned for Ms. Irani.His family members have alleged the murder could be motivated by political rivalry in the context of the 2019 Lok Sabha election and said he had no other personal animosity.Mr. Singh was shot dead while he was sleeping in the courtyard of his residence on Saturday night, police said. His son Abhay Pratap Singh said he was shot in the head. The victim was rushed to Jais but since there was no doctor to attend him he was then taken to Rae Bareli from where he was referred to the trauma centre in Lucknow where he was declared dead.Abhay Pratap said his father was active and “fearless” in the election campaign and suspects that “some Congress supporters, unruly elements” did not like him celebrating the victory of the BJP. “They had a grudge. We do suspect some people,” said Abhay Pratap.The village was one of the Adarsh Sansad Grams and after the victory the pradhan had taken out a vijay yatra. Uttar Pradesh DGP O.P. Singh said so far seven persons have been detained for questioning and some important clues have been found through electronic surveillance.“We are looking at all angles. We have come to know of some old animosity, if there is something political, we are trying to find out that,” said Mr. Singh.The top cop said three teams had been deployed and expressed confidence the case would be solved in 12 hours, a deadline issued by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.IG Lucknow was dispatched to the ground for monitoring. The State has deployed three companies of PAC to maintain law and order in the village. Ms. Irani flew down to Lucknow after which she drove down to Amethi to meet the family of the victim.She attended the funeral procession and even lent a shoulder. Keshav Prasad Maurya, UP deputy CM, said the victim was a ‘good worker’ of the BJP and assured the police would take fast and strict action against the culprits. Pramod Tiwari, former Congress MP, asked the BJP to introspect when it could not save its own worker, how would it protect the common people, despite having governments at the State and the Centre.