In what is being seen as a tactical move in political circles, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday sacked two of his ministers – mining minister Gayatri Prajapati and panchayati raj minister Rajkishor Singh – allegedly due to allegations of corruption against them.
According to sources close to Akhilesh, the CM was said to be unhappy with Prajapati who was mired in controversy over allegations of promoting illegal mining, while allegations of land grabbing and corruption had been levelled against Singh.
“The chief minister was forced to take action after the Allahabad High Court refused to withdraw its order for a CBI probe into illegal mining in the state,” said a source. “In addition, the action comes close on the heels of Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav sounding a warning to party leaders that if the party wanted to return to power in the 2017 Assembly elections, it needed to take some hard decisions against those involved in land grabbing and other corrupt activities,” the source added.
However, many political analysts as well as the Opposition see more in the move than meets the eye. “The action of the chief minister is an effort to wipe the slate clean as elections are just round the corner. With the HC coming down heavily on the state government, it becomes very obvious that illegal mining was being conducted in the state with the support of authority. An effort is now being made to brush everything under the carpet and have an image makeover,” said a political observer. “The workers had started talking about how the image of the government was getting tarnished due to the actions of these two ministers,” said a party insider, adding that he expected more heads to roll in the coming days.