Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday dismissed minister for secondary education Balram Yadav, who played an active role in the merger of mafia don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s Qaumi Ekta Dal (QED) in the Samajwadi Party here on Tuesday.
According to sources, the CM was not in favour of the merger of QED in the SP. He had made his intentions clear to senior party leaders. So, on Tuesday he gave a strong signal about his opposition to the move, deciding to meet governor Ram Naik within hours of the merger.
Besides inviting the governor for the Raza Iftar he is hosting here on June 25, the CM reportedly handed over two letters to Naik– one recommending dismissal of Balram Yadav, and the other seeking the governor’s nod for expansion of his council of ministers.
While the state government issued a notification dismissing Balram Yadav by Tuesday evening, sources said the timing of the swearing-in ceremony could be communicated to the chief minister soon. Already, there were three vacancies in the council of ministers and Balram Yadav’s dismissal makes it four vacant posts. In UP, the maximum permissible strength of the council of ministers, including the CM is 60.
“The cabinet expansion may take place in the next few days, maybe on June 27,” said a senior officer. Various names doing rounds for induction in the state cabinet include Balram Yadav’s son – Sangram Singh Yadav – and the CM’s close lieutenant and the SP’s west UP leader Sanjay Lathar.
By inducting fresh faces in his cabinet ahead of the 2017 assembly elections, the chief minister is attempting to spruce up the image of his government that has taken a hit on the Mathura and the Kairana controversies.
Not surprising then that his move to sack a senior minister came within hours of minister for PWD Shivpal Yadav and QED president Afzal Ansari’s announcement of the merger at a press conference here earlier in the day.
Apparently, Balram Yadav had met Afzal Ansari before the Vidhan Parishad and Rajya Sabha polls and sought his party’s support for the SP candidates. QED had thereafter supported the SP in the two polls.
Incidentally, hours before the announcement of the merger of QED with the SP, the incarcerated Mukhtar Ansari was shifted from Agra jail to Lucknow jail.