Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said on Wednesday his decision to take away three ministries from uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav was not a family dispute.
Akhilesh’s Samajwadi Party was thrown into turmoil after he on Tuesday night curtailed Shivpal’s powers , while his father and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav was in Delhi.
“There are no differences in the family. Everybody respects netaji (Mulayam). I also respect him and most of the decisions have been taken on the directions of Samajwadi Party chief. There are some decisions taken by me as well,” said Akhilesh in Lucknow.
“There may be problems in the government, but not in the (Yadav) family,” the CM added. “Most of the decisions are taken by Mulayam Singhji and he will taken a final call even now.”
Akhilesh cancelled all official engagements and huddled with close aides and party confidantes on Wednesday, while Shivpal left for to Delhi.
At a press conference at his native village in Saifai, Shivpal said he would not say anything for the time being but would continue to do what his elder brother Mulayam wanted of him.
In an indirect reference to Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh, who was recently taken back into the party fold, Akhilesh said there were “some outsiders” who were trying to influence the government decisions.
Akhilesh’s move on Wednesday to take away three key ministries from Shivpal came within hours of Mulayam appointing his brother as the SP’s Uttar Pradesh president, replacing his chief minister-son.
The churning in the party and bureaucracy started rumours in the poll-bound state, with TV reports suggesting that Shivpal is mulling options of resigning from the government.
Shivpal has been given the relatively less important social welfare portfolio in place of the key PWD, irrigation, revenue and cooperative departments he held earlier. The chief minister kept PWD with him.
Shivpal’s appointment as the state party chief was considered Mulayam’s way of striking a balance between his son and his brother ahead of the elections. The SP is expected to face a tough fight from the BJP and the resurgent Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) led by Mayawati.
The chief minister had earlier refused to merge a party floated by jailed gangster Mukhtar Ansari with the SP, a proposal floated by Shivpal. Mulayam had recently ticked off Akhilesh for allegedly humiliating Shivpal.
On Monday, Akhilesh had removed two ministers facing corruption charges, seen as an image-refurbishing exercise by the SP government ahead of the elections.