Mulayam's favourite Gayatri Prajapati has become a liability for Akhilesh
The Supreme Court’s order against Gayatri Prasad Prajapati in a gang rape case couldn’t have come at a better time for the Opposition parties who have made poor law and order in Uttar Pradesh an election issue.
While directing that an FIR be registered against the state’s transport minister, the court took strong exception to the police’s reluctance to register a criminal case against Prajapati and described the allegation as “very serious”.
This would only add to Prajapati’s troubles as the Supreme Court had, in an unrelated matter, ordered continuation of a CBI probe ordered by the Allahabad High Court into illegal mining in the state. Prajapati was mining minister earlier.
Supreme Court taking exception to the police inaction in the matter is fine, but who would have dared register a criminal case against Prajapati, especially after seeing what befell IPS officer Amitabh Thakur. Thakur alleged that he was threatened allegedly by Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The way the SP government conspired against Thakur and his RTI activist wife Nutan Thakur for filing cases against Prajapati with the Lokayukta would have dissuaded any cop from proceeding against Prajapati. It was only after the intervention of the high court that the government stopped hounding Amitabh Thakur.
Prajapati is alleged to be neck deep in illegal mining. In five years his declared wealth grew like Jack’s bean stalk from Rs 1.82 crore in 2012 to Rs 10.2 crore in 2017. After seeing the state government’s reluctance to look into the issue of illegal mining rampant in the state the Allahabad High Court directed all the district magistrates to submit a report on mining in their areas.
Sensing embarrassment chief minister Akhilesh Yadav dropped Prajapati from the cabinet but took him back under pressure from Mulayam. Interestingly, the chief minister surrendered before his father’s wish even though, as he told his father, Prajapati did not listen to him.
Prajapati is obviously Mulayam Singh Yadav’s blue-eyed minister over whom the chief minister had no control. Yet, after Akhilesh won the fight for the cycle symbol it was presumed that Prajapati’s name would not figure in his list of candidates for the Assembly elections.
Prajapati’s image was tainted and he was close to Mulayam and Shivpal. Besides, Akhilesh was trying to tell the world that the bad guys in the SP were there because of his elders. He was spending crores to build a pro-development image, free from taint. He had, after all, refused to allow the Qaumi Ekta Dal of Mukhtar Ansari to merge with his party.
Akhilesh’s decision to field Prajapati from Amethi, though exposed his hypocrisy. It was in sync with his government’s unstated position of backing the corrupt to the hilt. The government had tried its best to prevent a CBI inquiry into the Yadav Singh case until it sensed the mood of the Supreme Court.
It also shielded the chairman of the UP Public Service Commission despite a plethora of complaints of irregularities, including casteism, in recruitment against him. He was eventually thrown out by the high court.
The chairman of the secondary education board also had to go after the intervention of the high court.
The Supreme Court’s order comes less than a week after Samajwadi Party’s Sultanpur MLA Arun Kumar Verma was booked for the murder of a woman, who had charged him with gang rape.
These cases were almost forgotten but Prajapati’s case has revived their memory and given the Opposition an opportunity to intensify its attack on Akhilesh as UP enters round four of the Assembly elections.
Prajapati calls it a conspiracy hatched by the opposition to frame him at a time when he was busy electioneering in Amethi where he is engaged in a triangular contest with Congress MP Sanjay Sinh’s present and previous wives---Ameeta Sinh (Congress) and Garima Sinh (BJP).