Akhilesh meets Governor, discusses SP developments (Roundup)

Lucknow, Oct 26 (IANS) Amid a bitter and very public turf battle in the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP), Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday met Governor Ram Naik and is believed to have informed him of developments within the party.

While officials maintained that it was a routine meeting in which the Chief Minister extended “advance greetings” for Diwali to the Governor, sources told IANS that the 30-minute meeting was “detailed and exhaustive” and the Chief Minister informed the Governor of the developments within his party.

Expulsion of Minister of State for Forests Tej Narayan Pandey aka Pawan Pandey earlier in the day was also discussed. Akhilesh has been asked by the party to sack him from the ministry as well, which he has declined to do.

Governor Ram Naik said he had called Akhilesh to be briefed about the situation within the ruling party in the last one week.

He said he wanted to know the situation to satisfy himself on the constitutional aspects, according to an aide.

An informed source said that Akhilesh Yadav handed over a letter of support from 205 legislators of his party and briefed Naik about the legislature meeting of his party MLAs. The move is being seen as an attempt by the Chief Minister’s camp to pre-empt any move by his uncle Shivpal Yadav and father Mulayam Singh Yadav to upstage him at any point of time in near future.

Akhilesh has reportedly refused to take back the four sacked Ministers in his cabinet until some young leaders and Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Yadav, all expelled from the party for six years, are taken back.

Before meeting the Governor, Akhilesh on Wednesday morning met party legislators, members of legislative council and other leaders, including those who have been expelled from the party.

In the morning, SP state unit president Shivpal Yadav began vacating his 7, Kalidas Marg, official residence and shift the belongings to his own house. Shivpal’s official residence is just next to that of his nephew and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

In the morning, in an indication that he does not want to be taken back in the state government, Shivpal’s staff began removing his ministerial name plate from his official residence.

Shivpal, the second most senior minister in the four-and-a-half years-old Samajwadi Party government, was removed last week from the ministry for the second time in the last one month. The red beacon atop his vehicle was taken away and he surrendered his official vehicle to the state’s ‘Rajya Sampatti Vibhag’ (state property division), an aide told IANS.

The move is being seen in political circles as Shivpal’s snub to attempts by his nephew Akhilesh to broker a deal with party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, in which he had reportedly sought revocation of Ram Gopal Yadav’s expulsion from the party in lieu of the re-entry of Shivpal and three others — Om Prakash Singh, Narad Rai and Shadab Fatima — into his cabinet.

While Mulayam had initially asked Akhilesh to reinstate the sacked ministers, the Chief Minister refused to yield to the diktat forcing the SP supremo to tell reporters that he had left the matter to Akhilesh.

On Wednesday, Akhilesh began attending to official works, which had come to a grinding halt over the past one month over the intra-party war.

He met actor Raza Murad, and held discussions with officials, including Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar on the dengue outbreak.

On Thursday, Akhilesh is set to give away the Yash Bharati awards and launch many new schemes of the transport department on Friday.

Meanwhile, Shivpal Yadav left for Delhi in the evening with an invitation from Mulayam Singh to old socialist leaders like Devegowda for the November 5 silver jubilee celebrations of the Samajwadi Party.

However, Shivpal is not staying at UP Sadan, booked for Ministers, and rather he has booked himself a room at the UP Bhawan, as a legislator, said an informed source.