In Samajwadi Party’s road to self-destruction, Professor Ram Gopal Yadav stands as a lone “conscience keeper”. Ram Gopal is the only SP leader suggesting that the suspended IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal should be reinstated. The corruption-ridden arrogant netas in the Akhilesh government and the Samajwadi Party are in no mood to hear him out. As a result, SP’s consistent “conscience keeper” stands cornered and ignored.
Ram Gopal believes the officer should not have been treated like an adversary by the Akhilesh government. He advised leaders of the ruling Samajwadi Party to not use abrasive language against the young IAS officer and suggested that only authorised persons should speak in the wake of the ongoing public outcry against Durga Shakti’s suspension. His support for Durga Shakti has established him as a strong ideological contrast to the three big Yadavs in the Samajwadi Party—Mulayam, Akhilesh and Shivpal. As Akhilesh Yadav’s hollow claims that IAS Durga Shakti was transferred owing to the intelligence reports alerting for communal riots stand exposed, Ram Gopal’s colleagues, in order to get noticed in the eyes of the chief minister have chosen to be deaf to the suggestions. SP leader Narendra Bhati claimed arrogantly in public that he got the IAS officer suspended.
While the upright IAS officer is being hounded by the SP leaders for taking a stand against the influential mining mafia of Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ram Gopal’s stand has left the SP leadership and heads in the government quite baffled.
Ram Gopal Yadav is aware that he is not cut for the political culture of this era as he chooses to not remain blinded to the malpractices within his party and the government. When the Samajwadi Party government was formed, Ram Gopal Yadav had scolded the ministers for idling, incompetence and indulging in corruption. He phoned up wayward MLAs for indulging in unruly and criminal behaviour. He expressed his discomfort when he found “members” of Team Akhilesh “bringing bad reputation to the party.” At a party meeting, he even handed over a few visiting cards to the CM Akhilesh Yadav saying some people were visiting the government officers masquerading as “Member, Team Akhilesh” to get their motives sorted. Ram Gopal kept a watch on the government and the party and advised corrective actions to help improve the government’s image in the wake of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Not surprisingly, the party is ignoring the “conscience keeper” for his plain speak on the dos and dont’s. It has been trying to edge him out of the mainstream. Firstly, Ambika Chaudhary, one of the protégés of Ram Gopal, was stripped off the revenue portfolio. It was allotted to Shivpal Yadav already holding half a dozen departments. Amibka was Ram Gopal loyalist in Lucknow and would mostly coordinate with the leader on her tasks. Also, Ram Gopal is of the view that the party should not indulge with Mohammad Azam Khan beyond a limit as the latter has on many occasions humiliated the party and the government by his tantrums. But Mulayam Singh Yadav ignores his cousin’s advise in this regard and bows before any diktat of Azam Khan.
A secret power struggle within the Yadav family mainly to sideline cousin Ram Gopal and corner him on everything within the family members is being played by Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shivpal and Akhilesh Yadav. It was out in public on the issue of the suspension of Durga Nagpal. When PWD minister, Shivpal Yadav was reminded by the media persons about Ram Gopal’s advice for reinstatement of the suspended IAS officer, his reply shocked Ram Gopal. Shivpal said, “We are the government, nobody else”. Such terse reply to Ram Gopal by the cousin Shivpal who is the younger brother of the party chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav was rare and a harbinger of the things to come. This snubbing of Ram Gopal is not possible without Mulayam Singh Yadav’s approval and signal. Of late, Ram Gopal’s words in the administration, mainly in western Uttar Pradesh are not being honored by the higher-ups in the government.
But Ram Gopal has his own style of dealing with situations and would not compromise on certain issues. He has clarified that he would not take any post in the government in Lucknow or the centre today or post 2014 and remain an ordinary worker. Ram Gopal does not have a chequered vision. He is open and accessible to all including his political opponents. The Samajwadi Party’s vowed opponent and the BSP chief, Mayawati, remains unsparing towards all leaders of the Samajwadi Party, but she is ready to support “professor Sahib” on any issue.
Ram Gopal must have shocked his party and the government when he recently said that Mayawati’s office was very responsive and sensitive when she was in power while the present CMO (chief minister office) in Lucknow required a lot of changes to live upto people’s expectations. It was Ram Gopal Yadav who had mobilised support for Akhilesh Yadav within the family and the party to anoint him as the chief minister of the state in 2012. His operation was so successful that there was not a single murmur of discontent within the party, forget protests in the state. Today he is painfully watching conspiracies against himself by his own! Sensing the unfavourable mood of the party leadership and a latent campaign to marginalise him from the mainstream, Ram Gopal stayed away from the party’s important meeting in Lucknow on July 31. Ram Gopal is doing just the perfunctory works. The conscience keeper of the party seems to be losing a battle which he cannot fight as it is being waged by his own.