Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday expelled Uttar Pradesh minister Pawan Pandey from the party on charges of indiscipline, in the latest round of sackings amid a bitter power tussle in the family that has pushed it to the brink of a split.
On Sunday, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav threw out his uncle Shivpal Yadav, who is also the Samajwadi Party’s state chief, and three other “pro-Amar Singh” ministers from his team. Mulayam then dismissed his cousin and SP general secretary Ramgopal Yadav, who has backed Akhilesh in the family feud, from the party for six years.
Shivpal Yadav announced Pandey’s expulsion during a press conference and said that the party has sent a recommendation to the chief minister for sacking him from the cabinet.
The expulsion has come following a police complaint by party MLC Ashu Malik who had charged Pandey of assaulting him at the chief minister’s residence on Monday and later threatening him. Malik filed a complaint at Gautampalli police station in Lucknow on Tuesday.
Circle officer, Hazratganj, Ashok Verma confirmed that Malik had filed a written complaint against Pandey. The police, however, have not registered his complaint as yet and were verifying the charges levelled against the MLA from Ayodhya.
Malik, an MLC from Ghaziabad, alleged that Pandey abused him while he was sitting in the lounge after the CM left to meet Netaji (Mulayam). Malik claimed when he opposed, Pandey assaulted him.
He said earlier the CM himself had saved him when Pandey and his supporters tried to attack him during the party leaders’ meeting.
“The CM brought me to his residence in his car where the incident took place later,” he claimed.
Malik became the centre of attention on Monday when the CM asked to him to reveal the name of the person who planted a story in an English daily comparing Mulayam and Akhilesh to Shahjahan and Aurangzeb, respectively.
“Some journalists told me the story was planted by an SP leader in Delhi,” Malik said without naming anyone.
He said the CM wanted him to narrate the incident before Mulayam but party workers misunderstood the situation and started hurling abuses and chairs at him.
Pandey was hailed as a hero by his party after the 2012 assembly elections when he defeated the BJP sitting MLA Lallu Singh. This was the first time that any party could snatch the seat from the Bharatiya Janata Party since the demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya in 1992.
The chief minister had sacked Pandey in 2014 over an incident of manhandling of an Indian Police Service officer in Faizabad.
Shivpal’s elevation as the state SP president replacing Akhilesh last month sparked the ugly power struggle in the family, threatening to derail the ruling party’s prospects in the assembly polls due early next year.
The party’s senior leadership led by Mulayam was seen as tilting towards Shivpal, who has taken a harsh stand on anyone backing Akhilesh.
Akhilesh’s rebellion is being read as his attempt to shake off the hold of Mulayam and other leaders who are known to pull the strings in the party and the government.