LUCKNOW: Like most of the infamous men who have fallen from grace, the story of Gayatri Prajapati, a former Uttar Pradesh Minister who has now been arrested on rape charges, is a classic rags-to-riches one.
Coming from the Most Backward Class, Prajapati was a BPL card holder till 2002. From there, he catapulted to a man worth a whopping Rs 20 crore, according to an affidavit submitted to the Election Commission at the time of nomination for 2017 elections.
On papers, he has registered a 10-time rise in wealth during the past five years. However, his real worth could be several times higher, say people close to him. Starting off as a small-time white-wash contractor, Prajapati’s rise has been stunning.
Led by his ambitions, he climbed the ladder of affluence rung by rung, consistently moving on from small-time real estate business to property dealing and finally landing up as a Cabinet Minister in the highest echelons of power. His downfall has been equally steep.
A one-time blue-eyed boy of the SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, he is now cooling his heels in the jail on charges of gang-rape.
An arts graduate from Ram Manohar Lohia Awadh University, Faizabad, Prajapati made his presence acknowledged in the political circles by winning Amethi for Samajwadi Party in 2012.
Through him, the party managed to make inroads into the traditional Gandhi bastion for the first time as he trounced Rani Ameeta Sinh with a considerable margin of over 8,000 votes.
However, he lost the same seat to BJP’s Garima Sinh, the first wife of senior Congress leader and Raja Amethi Dr Sanjay Sinh this time.
Even before 2012, Gayatri Prajapati was associated with the Samajwadi Party’s fringe outfits and had tested the political waters in Amethi twice in 2002 and 2007 on SP ticket but lost. Despite the fall, his clout continued to grow within the SP.
After becoming an MLA in 2012, Prajapati was sworn-in as the minister of state for irrigation in February 2013. He was then elevated to cabinet rank within five months. It was in July 2015 that controversies started to erupt.
Social activist Nutan Thakur lodged a complaint against him before the Lokayukta. Although the case was junked, it triggered a row when Mulayam allegedly threatened Nutan’s husband and IPS officer Amitabh Thakur for ‘running’ campaign against the minister.