What can be called as Yadav vs Yadav, the Samajwadi Party on Tuesday replaced Akhilesh Yadav with his uncle Shivpal Yadav as the state unit chief for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Elections. Hours after Mulayam Singh Yadav made Shivpal as party’s face for the polls, incumbent Akhilesh stripped the latter from three ministerial berths- PWD, irrigation and revenue and cooperative departments.
A Raj Bhavan press release stated that Governor Ram Naik had re-allocated the portfolios to other ministers on the recommendation of the Chief Minister. Akhilesh has kept PWD under his charge.
Earlier, Akhilesh had removed chief secretary Deepak Singhal, a close aide of Shivpal, from his post without citing a reason. On Monday, the UP Chief Minister had removed two ministers- Gayatri Prasad Prajapati and Raj Kishore Singh on charges of corruption.
The situation became a little more uncomfortable as both Gayatri and Raj Kishore were considered close to Mulayam Singh.
According to one section of the party, Shivpal’s appointment by Mulayam Singh was his way of placating his younger brother following the removal of his close aides. While others believe that it is Mulayam’s way of balancing the equation between his brother and son.
In a letter to Shivpal, issued by SP general secretary Ramgopal Yadav, it was stated that he would strengthen the party with his hard work, thereby hinting that he was now the No.2 in SP hierarchy.
“SP President Mulayam Singh Yadav has appointed you as the president of the Uttar Pradesh unit. It is hoped that with your hard work, you will further strengthen the party,” said the letter.
Differences between Akhilesh and Shivpal have been reported on several occasions, including on the choice of official to be appointed as the state’s chief secretary after Alok Ranjan’s term ended, and stalling of Qaumi Ekta Dal’s merger with SP. Shivpal was said to have shepherded the merger of gangster-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s QED with the Samajwadi Party.
Terming the sacking of two ministers on corruption charges by Akhilesh as “mere drama”, BSP president Mayawati said it will not rescue the Samajwadi Party in Assembly polls in 2017. Mayawati also criticised SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav’s assertion that he was not in the know of sacking of ministers saying it was the “effort of father and son to keep the ills of SP government under wraps but people now understand all this very well.”
“The sacking of two ministers just before the Assembly elections is a mere drama and it will not help the Samajwadi Party, which is neck deep in corruption,” she said in a party release.