Lucknow: After eyebrows were raised over Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav campaigning for party colleague and rape accused Gayatri Prajapati, SP patron is unlikely to visit Amethi on Thursday from where the tainted minister is his party's nominee.
Party sources said on Wednesday night that Mulayam was unwell and might skip the public meeting that has been organised in Gayadeyi Degree College premises in Amethi.
Though Mulayam's ill health was cited as the reason behind his unlikely visit to Amethi, SP insiders said the party patriarch perhaps did not want any fresh controversy.
Amethi goes to polls in the fifth phase on 27 February. Prajapati is a senior minister who has been booked on the directions of the Supreme Court.
On Monday, Akhilesh did not want to share a stage with Prajapati and had asked the organisers of the rally to ensure that he was not present when he spoke. Accordingly, Prajapati had left the dais before the chief minister arrived and sat in the audience silently.
Akhilesh, in his election rally at Gauriganj in Amethi district, did not make any reference to his controversial cabinet colleague during his entire speech.
On the directives of the Supreme Court, Uttar Pradesh Police filed an FIR against Prajapati in connection with separate cases of gangrape and attempt to rape another woman and her minor daughter.
Opposition parties have made it a big issue with BJP targeting Priyanka Gandhi Vadra over her poll campaign in Rae Bareli for the Congress-SP alliance, saying it was unfortunate that she was seeking votes for those accused of "rape and murder".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday raked up the Prajapati issue, saying at an election rally that the Supreme Court had to intervene to get the minister booked in an alleged rape case.
"The SC had to intervene to get the FIR registered against Gayatri Prasad Prajapati. 'Goonda raj' is prevailing all over UP and police stations have become Samajwadi Party office," Modi had said.
Amethi is the Gandhi family pocket borough and is represented by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha, while neighbouring Rae Bareli is represented by party chief and Rahul's mother Sonia Gandhi in Lok Sabha.
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Updated Date: Feb 23, 2017 08:41:11 IST