LUCKNOW: The two principal political opponents in Uttar Pradesh — the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) and the main opposition Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) — have refrained from acting against top brass for the unprecedented defeat in the recently concluded General Elections and are instead busy sacrificing foot soldiers.
If the ruling SP on Tuesday removed 36 ‘lal battidhari’ ministers (low-level party workers and lackeys of senior leaders elevated as ministers of state), the BSP, which had called its emergency meeting, changed zonal coordinators and disbanded party units.
Beleaguered Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, facing criticism from all quarters for the SP’s poorest-ever show in parliamentary elections, tried to deflect the attack on him by sacking the ministers, blaming them for the loss of the party candidates.
The SP won just five out of 80 seats in the State and all MPs are from the family of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. Though Mulayam is upset over the unprecedented situation, he is not able to make the extraordinary decision of acting tough on his son Akhilesh, who is being held responsible by a section of ministers, MLAs and party functionaries, though in a muted manner. Most are maintaining a studied silence to respect “Netaji” Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The SP has so far given such “lal batti” status to more than 200 ministers. “Most of the ministers enjoying such a status are seldom seen working for the party as they are more interested in transfers and postings and getting licences and permits for mining, etc,” lamented a senior SP functionary.
In over two years, the chief minister nominated more than 200 workers and associates of senior leaders and a few journalists as well as ministers.
The party had convened a meeting of the defeated candidates in Lucknow on Sunday to review the situation and to obtain feedback for the reasons behind the debacle. Mulayam himself was present at the meeting and expressed displeasure over the performance of the present government, saying that when he was the chief minister in 2004, his party had won 35 seats and now it has been reduced to just five seats. More: P7