September 27, 2016 12:40:25 am
Former UP mines minister Gayatri Prajapati was reinducted as Cabinet minister on Monday, two weeks after he was sacked by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Akhilesh also inducted four new ministers and elevated six ministers of state (MoS) to Cabinet rank in his eighth Cabinet expansion.
Of the 10 ministers who were administered oath of office, three were reinducted — Gayatri Prajapati from Amethi, Manoj Pandey from Rae Bareli and Shiva Kant Ojha from Pratapgarh. Raj Kishore Singh, who was dropped from the ministry along with Prajapati, failed to stage a comeback.
Moving away from recent practice, both SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and party’s state president Shivpal Yadav attended the oath-taking ceremony at Raj Bhavan.
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Prajapati was sacked on September 12, in what was seen as an effort to refurbish the image of the state government before the elections. The action triggered a political crisis within the Yadav clan. Two days after the sacking, Akhilesh indicated that he had not taken the decision. Later, Mulayam announced that Prajapati would be reinducted.
After the oath ceremony, Prajapati said that allegations of corruption against him were a “conspiracy of the Opposition”. Asked whether his reinduction had Akhilesh’s consent, he said: “Rumours are being spread by people who cannot digest that someone like me, who comes from a poor family, can attain such heights… People who are spreading such rumours wish to hand over the command of this country to industrialists.”
On activist Nutan Thakur approaching the Governor to stop his reinduction, Prajapati said: “A probe should be conducted against Nutan Thakur and her husband to find out their actual wealth. It has been said that I have
Rs 1,000-1,500 crore, but where is the proof? Has any FIR been lodged?” He added that while the Lokayukta had given him a clean chit, some people were still trying to malign his image.
On Saturday, Thakur had petitioned the Governor against reinducting Prajapati. In her petition, she had said that Prajapati was removed as minister on serious corruption charges after an order of the Allahabad High Court for a CBI inquiry. During his meeting with Thakur on Sunday, Governor Ram Naik had said he would look into the issue.
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