'No vendetta politics, better governance priority'
Law and order will be the priority of the new SP government in Uttar Pradesh, chief minister-designate Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday said, maintaining that no discrimination will be made on the basis of caste and creed.
Soon after his name was finalised by party legislators and MPs for the post of Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav said honest officers will be appointed in districts and action would be taken against those who show laxity in their job.
38-year-old Akhilesh Yadav stressed that no one involved in illegal activities would be spared.
The SP legislative party leader, who would be taking oath as chief minister on March 15, said all the promises made in the party manifesto would be fulfilled by the SP government.
About memorials and parks constructed in the BSP regime, Akhilesh said that vacant places in memorials might be utilised for opening up of medical or educational institutions.
About the role of party supremo and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh said that he would remain active in national as well as state politics and with his blessing the state government would run.
To a question related to his ministry, Akhilesh said, "We will let you know whatever decision is taken. Give me some time".
Akhilesh later met Governor BL Joshi with party leaders Mohammad Azam Khan and Shivpal Singh Yadav and informed him about the decision of the party and the date for oath taking ceremony.
The party has already staked claim for forming the government in the state on March 7 when SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav met the Governor with Akhilesh.
The 38-year-old leader will be sworn in as chief minister around 1pm on March 15 along with other members of the cabinet.
Akhilesh was elected leader of the SP legislature party unanimously after Azam Khan, who is said to have had some reservations, proposed his name.
It was seconded by Mulayam's brother Shivpal Singh Yadav, who also reportedly had some misgivings initially about handing over chiefministership to the young leader who is credited in a major way with reviving the party's fortunes in the elections.
His predecessor Mayawati was 39 when she first became chief minister in 1995 in a coalition government with support from SP.
Shortly after the election at the legislature party meeting which included MPs, Akhilesh told reporters that his government would implement all the promises made in the SP manifesto without discrimination of caste and religion because people cutting across all castes and religions have given a mandate to the party.
Tackling law and order will be his government's priority, he said, adding honest officers would be appointed to deal with the issue.
In a break with the policies of the predecessor government, Akhilesh said the vacant space in the memorials built by Mayawati would be used for building medical or educational institutions.
The election of Akhilesh, who holds a masters in environmental engineering from Australia, was followed by a thunderous clapping of the assembled gathering of newly-elected MLAs and MPs of the party.
As soon as his name was approved, Akhilesh touched the feet of his 73-year-old father Mulayam Singh Yadav to take his blessings.
That Akhilesh, who toured Uttar Pradesh on his kranti rath yatra on the plank of development, could be in the race for chiefministership was evident when the party got an absolute majority in the 403-member assembly by winning 224 seats, notwithstanding the reservations of some seniors.
Akhilesh was also instrumental in the party shedding its image of being opposed to computers and English with promise of free laptops for students.
However, in the last two days Mulayam Singh reportedly worked on the seniors and persuaded them about handing over the mantle of chiefministership to his son, who now represents Kannauj in the Lok Sabha.
In his speech, Azam Khan, considered the Muslim face of SP, said Akhilesh was being given a big responsibility and hoped he would discharge it successfully.
He rejected Mayawati's claim that Muslims shifted to SP because of the fear of BJP and said the Muslims were always with the SP from the days of Babri Masjid demolition.
"The party got more votes than it got after Babri mosque demolition," Khan added.