A Dalit woman whose hut drew media attention, thanks to a visit there by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in 2008 and by the Aam Aadmi Party’s Kumar Vishwas earlier this month, has again become the centre of a minor political tussle in Amethi with the Samajwadi Party entering the fray.
The new Cabinet Minister, representing Amethi in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, Gaytri Prasad Prajapati, on Sunday evening visited Sunita Kori and handed over a cheque for Rs 1.85 lakh, purportedly allotted from the Lohia Awaas Yojna for rebuilding her hut at Sangrampur village.
Mr. Prajapati’s visit has added to speculation that the SP could field candidates from Rae Bareli and Amethi, represented by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Mr. Gandhi, in the coming general election. Significantly, another MLA from Unchahar (part of Raebareli), Manoj Kumar Pandey, was also elevated to the Cabinet rank recently. In the 2004 and 2009 general elections, the SP did not field nominees in Raebareli and Amethi.
Mr. Vishwas has already made it clear that he would challenge Mr. Gandhi in Amethi.
As for the Minister visiting Sunita’s house, the AAP criticised the SP. “It is odd that the SP realised that her house was broken only after we raised the issue,” said Hanuman Singh, AAP convener in Amethi.
After Mr. Vishwas called on Sunita, AAP workers made a series to visits to her hut, assuring her of help in constructing a roof. Sunita expressed her “gratitude” to the AAP. Her hut was burnt down in March 2012.
The following day, Mr. Prajapati visited her and laid the foundation stone for a new hut but construction was delayed following a dispute.