Every outsider is seen with suspicion at the residence of UP minister Gayatri Prajapati (49) at Awas Vikas Colony in Amethi.
With the minister rumoured to have gone underground fearing police arrest in an alleged gangrape case, a meeting with him seems impossible.
His son, Anil, surrounded by a horde of party workers and followers, instructs them on how to target specific castes in specific localities.
A request for appointment is turned down with a curt “No”. On insistence, Anil asks several questions and then gives the phone number of an aide of the minister who in turn does another round of grilling.
After convincing him, comes a half-an-hour drive on dusty roads to the house of Mishrauli Bargaon village pradhan, Ramkrishna Yadav.
The caution, queries, suspicion and precaution were, however, not uncalled for. For, the fear of arrest appeared to be imminent in the wake of the Supreme Court order to lodge an FIR against him and some of his associates on gang rape charges.
Dismissing the charges as a conspiracy by BJP, he says he has filed an application in the SC to present his side. “Police are investigating the matter to see if the charges stand prima facie.”
“Since BJP is not able to win the seat and I am working for at least 17 weaker section castes assigned to me by my party, they implicated me under false charges to ruin my political career. But I will continue to fight against the feudal forces,” he tells HT.
Although the fear of arrest is there, being a minister and a candidate, he enjoys police protection.
Amethi SP, Anees Ahmad Ansari, said, “Police are investigating the matter. It’s up to the investigation officer to see whether to arrest him or not.”
So, Prajapati is now on Mission Reconciliation to placate those upset with him for some reason or the other. He hit headlines when chief minister Akhilesh Yadav dropped him and another minister on corruption charges last September amidst a feud with uncle Shivpal Yadav, but the CM had to re-induct him into the cabinet barely after a fortnight, apparently under the pressure from his father Mulayam Singh Yadav.
At a recent election rally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi used him to take a dig at the SP-Congress alliance, asking whether the tie-up was as pure as Prajapati.
Lady luck smiled on Prajapati in 2012. He won the assembly election first time after facing defeat at least 4 times and despite being a first timer in the state assembly he became a minister in Akhilesh Yadav cabinet with the lucrative portfolio of mining.
“Netaji (Mulayam) is Lord Shiva and Akhilesh Yadav is Lord Ganesha,” said Prajapati when asked about the leaders. When asked where he stood in the picture he said, “I am Nandi (the bull (mount of Lord Shiva) idol of which is found at every Shiva temple),” he said.
He had felt relieved when Akhilesh visited his constituency and addressed a meeting on February 20. But Prajapati didn’t share the dais with the CM as he was told to stay away to avoid embarrassment to Akhilesh. Mulayam too was supposed to visit the constituency but his programme was cancelled at the eleventh hour.
Meanwhile, rubbishing the conspiracy allegations against BJP, its local leader Anil Kumar Singh said the entire state knows about the “game of tenders in mining department” during his tenure and how he “amassed wealth in the past 5 years”.