If a chief minister wants to get rid of a minister or two in his Cabinet, the least he could do is come up with a convincing explanation. But Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has sacked two ministers for ‘suspicious activities in view of the Parliament polls’ a decidedly opaque decision if there ever was one. The truth is that Akhilesh is floundering about, unable to deliver on any of the promises he has made.
So, he is trying to put up a show that he is a decisive leader who does not hesitate to sack those who are out of line. The only problem here is that we do not know what the ministers did wrong. The CM must also be smarting from the public dressing down — one of many — that his father and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav gave him recently.
In his admonishment, Mulayam had also warned erring ministers that they should mend their ways or lose their jobs. When the Yadav senior is on one of his haranguing sprees, his son, the elected chief minister, can do little more than to watch helplessly from the sidelines. As a result of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s constant interference, many ministers tend to disregard Akhilesh’s orders. In effect, the father has steadily undermined the son ever since he became the CM.
When really needed, Mulayam has not been particularly useful with his advice or indeed his influence over his partymen. A glaring example is the Muzaffarnagar riots and their aftermath. While people were dying of the cold in the relief camps, the SP held a gala festival complete with film stars and song and dance routines, much to the disgust of many.
This seriously eroded the SP’s image as a pro-minorities party, a real comedown for Mulayam who was once called Maulana Mulayam. The shoddy manner in which those in the riot relief camps were treated to the ultimate humiliation of some of them being asked to return the compensation money led to a loss of faith in the SP. Then came the ill-fated foreign study tour of SP MLAs led by one of Mulayam’s most faithful aides Azam Khan.
All the explanations as to why the exchequer’s money should be spent on futile tours which are nothing more than paid holidays for the elected representatives did not convince anyone. Again, this was a piece of very bad political management by the Yadavs and further lowered the prestige of the chief minister.
Yet, for all this, Mulayam Singh Yadav still wants to be considered as a potential prime minister. The best qualification for this would have been to have helped his son run UP more efficiently. This has not been the case and no amount of chopping and changing ministers now will boost the SP’s fortunes.