LUCKNOW: When Atul Rai takes oath as a first time BSP MP in the Lok Sabha on Friday, he will create a record of sorts.
It took him eight months to get sworn in as Lok Sabha member after being elected in May 2019 because he was in jail and denied permission to travel to Delhi.
Said to be a close associate of mafia don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, Rai was charged with rape by a Varanasi student during the election campaign.
Thirty-eight-year-old Rai, who contested the Ghosi seat, went into hiding and his family campaigned for him. BSP president Mayawati, in a rare gesture, also campaigned for Rai and alleged that the rape case was a political conspiracy against him.
Rai won the Ghosi seat by a margin of 1.22 lakh votes, defeating the rival BJP candidate, and then surrendered in a Varanasi court on June 22.
Atul Rai has cultivated a Robinhood image for himself in Ghosi and his supporters continue to believe that he is a victim of a political conspiracy. His constituency is tended to by his wife Priyanka and brother Pawan.
His bail application was rejected on multiple occasions and finally, the Supreme Court, earlier this month, allowed parole to Atul Rai to take oath as Lok Sabha member.