Wife vs wife in Amethi's battle royale

Wife vs wife in Amethi's battle royale

With the fight over inheritance of royal property between two ‘queens’ —both wives of Congress Rajya Sabha member and scion of erstwhile Amethi royal family Sanjay Singh — extending into the electoral arena, Amethi is witnessing a battle royale.

And caught in the midst of the royal clash in the Assembly segment, which falls in the Lok Sabha constituency of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, is none other than controversial state minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati.

Prajapati was recently in the news after being booked in a rape case on directions from the Supreme Court. For people in the Amethi Assembly constituency, especially those loyal to Bhupati Bhavan, the sprawling royal palace, it appears to be a choice between their ‘Raja’ Sanjay Singh’s estranged first wife and BJP nominee Garima Singh and the assertive second wife Amita Singh, the Congress candidate.

Amethi is one of the six seats in Uttar Pradesh where Congress and its alliance partner Samajwadi Party are locked in a friendly fight. “The fight here is triangular. All three candidates are in the contest… it is going to be a close fight,’’ said septuagenarian Uma Kant Mishra in Amethi.

There are many in Amethi who do not want to discuss the happenings in the palace, perhaps fearing that they may incur the wrath of the royals. While many sympathise with Garima, who gets emotional at times while seeking votes, there are others who feel that she is no match for the experienced Amita.

Barely a few months ago, there was a bloody clash between the supporters of Singh and Garima over her entry into the palace. A policeman was killed in the incident.

People who live near the palace had then supported Garima. “All I want is justice, please help me,’’ is Garima’s line at almost all her meetings. She does not mention Singh, but seeks support in the name of her father-in-law Rananjay Singh.

Prajapati, however, is no pushover. He had defeated Amita in the 2012 Assembly polls. His name figured on the BPL list till about 15 years ago, but he is now said to own property worth hundreds of crores.

Prajapati had been sacked by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav following charges of corruption, but was later reinducted. Akhilesh, however, did not allow Prajapati to share the stage with him during a recent rally. But he did urge voters to support Prajapati.

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