With Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav putting his foot down, Samjwadi Party on Saturday called off its merger with gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s party just three days after it announced the decision drawing all-round flak.
The party also decided on reinduction of Secondary Education Minister Balram Yadav, who was sacked by Akhilesh apparently for facilitating the merger.
“Mukhtar Ansari will not be welcome in the party. We don’t want such people in the party,” Akhilesh said during a programme organised by a news channel here, publicly venting his unhappiness on the merger with Ansari’s Qaumi Ekta Dal (QED).
Soon after the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister’s remarks, the parliamentary board of the party, which met here, said no to the merger and decided on reinduction of Balram.
“There will be no merger of Qaumi Ekta Dal in the Samajwadi Party…this has been decided at the parliamentary board meeting,” SP national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav told newspersons after the meeting of the party’s highest policy-making body.
The announcement of the merger on June 21 by Cabinet Minister Shivpal Yadav, who is brother of Akhilesh’s father and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, had started a tug-of-war in the family, with the Chief Minister saying that he didn’t take the decision regarding the merger.
Akhilesh’s displeasure over the merger with Ansari’s Qaumi Ekta Dal (QED) ahead of next year’s Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls was evident earlier when he said, “If party workers perform their responsibilities, then there will be no need of another party.”
Besides sacking Balram, he is also understood to have been upset with prisons minister Balwant Ramoowalia, who had reportedly ordered Ansari’s transfer from Agra prison to Lucknow jail.
Ansari was lodged in Agra jail in connection with killing of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai in 2005.
The Chief Minister had, however, later described the merger as an “internal matter” of the party and said he had no displeasure over it.
The SP was hoping that the merger will help it tap the muslim vote bank in eastern Uttar Pradesh especially in Ghazipur, Mau and Varanasi. QED was founded in 2010 by Mukhtar, along with his brothers Afzal Ansari, who is now its president, and Sigbatullaha Ansari.
But the announcement of the merger had also given fresh ammunition to the opposition parties to pillory the ruling party ahead of the 2017 Assembly elections, saying it showed the “sheer desperation” of SP and raised questions over law and order situation.
Amid claims that he has been working in the shadow of his father Mualayam Singh Yadav and uncles Ramgopal Yadav and Shivpal Yadav, the 42-year-old chief minister today said he doesn’t take decisions after taking permission from uncles.
“If my uncle helps me and I accept his suggestion what is wrong in it. I don’t take decisions after taking permission of uncle,” he said.
He was asked about the role of his uncles in helping him manage the affairs of the party during the ‘Panchayat Aaj Tak’ programme.
Akhilesh had taken a similar tough stand on the inclusion of mafia-turned-politician DP Yadav before the 2012 elections.
The development came as Akhilesh prepared to expand his ministry on June 27 in perhaps the last reshuffle of his council of ministers ahead of the Assembly election in early 2017. This will be the seventh expansion of Ministry since it assumed office in 2012.
In the last expansion on October 31, last year, the chief minister had inducted five cabinet ministers, eight ministers of state with independent charge and eight ministers of state. It was seen as an exercise to put his stamp on the government.
After Balram’s sacking, there were four vacancies as the Ministry has a sanctioned strength of 60.
The parliamentray board also decided that the chief minister, who is also SP state unit president, will take out a “vikas rath yatra” across Uttar Pradesh to highlight the development carried out by his government.
Akhilesh had taken out cycle yatras all over the state in the run up to the last Assembly polls in 2012.
The parliamentary board also authorised party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav to carry out reshuffle in the state working committee, Ram Gopal added.