NEW DELHI: Amidst the battle of attrition within the Samajwadi Party, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav met Governor Ram Naik on Wednesday, sparking off speculation about what may have led to the sudden visit.
Significantly, the visit took place shortly after Shivpal Yadav, the State party chief with whom Akhilesh is locked in a rather acrimonious power struggle, expelled a minister, Tejnarain (Pawan) Pandey, from the Samajwadi Party for six years. A known Akhilesh loyalist, the reason cited for Pandey’s suspension was ‘indiscipline’. He allegedly slapped a close aide of Mulayam Singh Yadav. This is the second high-profile expulsion from the Akhilesh camp, after party national secretary Ram Gopal Verma’s ouster.
The chief minister, sources in the know said, submitted letters of support from 205 of 224 SP MLAs to the Governor. From the Raj Bhawan, it was confirmed that “the CM briefed the Governor on the current political situation”. It was also pointed out that there were no less than four vacancies in the State Cabinet as Akhilesh had earlier sacked four ministers, including uncle Shivpal.
At the political level, with Akhilesh standing his ground in this war of nerves, sources said that party leaders and elected members “are rallying behind him”. For instance, minister Azam Khan, one of the SP heavyweights, on Wednesday openly spoke in Akhilesh’s favour.
Significantly, Akhilesh held a meeting of party legislators and senior leaders before driving down to Raj Bhawan. The official line was, the meeting was called to discuss his upcoming yatra.
CM loyalist Tejnarain Pandey expelled
UP Samajwadi Party chief Shivpal Yadav with whom Akhilesh is locked in a rather acrimonious power struggle, on Wednesday expelled minister, Tejnarain (Pawan) Pandey, a known CM loyalist from the party for six years citing ‘indiscipline’.