The Samajwadi Party on Monday struck a defiant note on the issue of suspension of IAS officer Durga Sakhti Nagpal, saying officials are punished whenever they do something wrong and the Centre can withdraw IAS officers from the state.
"There might be many children (sitting here) who I can say would have received a beating from their teachers and parents when they had done something wrong. The government is also run like this. Whenever any official does something wrong, he is punished," Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said while addressing a function.
On the Centre seeking a report from the state on the suspension of the officer, senior Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav asked the Centre to withdraw all IAS officers from the state.
To a question on whether the Centre was setting a precedent by interfering in the matter, Yadav retorted that under the circumstances, the "state would ask the Centre to withdraw all IAS officers, the government would run with the help of its (provincial services) officers".
The SP leader said the suspension was an administrative matter and his party did not want to politicise it.
The Centre has already sought a report on the suspension of the officer through letters. The state government has issued a charge-sheet to Nagpal, giving her 15 days to submit her reply.
Nagpal, an Uttar Pradesh cadre officer, was suspended for ostensibly ordering demolition of the wall of an under-construction mosque without following the due process.
Her suspension has evoked sharp reaction from opposition parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, which have alleged that Nagpal, who was working as sub-divisional magistrate in the Gautam Budh Nagar area of the state, was removed after the officer cracked down on the sand mafia operating in the area under her jurisdiction.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who is also the chairperson of the National Advisory Council, had on Saturday written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying Nagpal should not be "unfairly treated".
"We must ensure that the officer is not unfairly treated," Gandhi had said in her letter to Dr Singh, who holds the charge of the personnel ministry.
The suspended officer has a right to appeal. Nagpal has not yet made an appeal against her suspension to the Centre, official sources said.
Nagpal is at present attached to the Board of Revenue in Lucknow.
As many as 4,737 IAS officers are serving in various central and state government offices across the country.
At another function at the Samajwadi Party office in Lucknow, the chief minister justified the decision to suspend Nagpal, saying a number of SDMs have been suspended in the country and why was such a hue and cry being raised.
"A number of SDMs might have been suspended in the country. But why is such a hue and cry being raised on a suspension in the state? The media is after my government," Akhilesh said.
"Its difficult to run a government. As compared to 10 years of politics, running a year of government is more difficult," he said.
Akhilesh said in the previous Mayawati regime, an IAS officer had committed suicide and they (IAS officers) used to visit the CM's office after removing their shoes.
In Delhi, his father and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav told PTI that the action against Nagpal was taken to prevent communal disturbance, which could have erupted after the demolition of the mosque's wall.
SP's arch rival and BSP supremo Mayawati used the suspension row to lash out at the state government. "A lot of injustice has been done to the IAS officer who has been suspended and charge-sheeted," she said.
"There is no law and order in the state. Instead, it is ruled by mafia and anti-social elements, it has drastically failed in matters of law and order," she said.