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The Big UP Reshuffle: Mulayam boosts son's profile

Last updated on: October 29, 2015 20:11 IST

Even though Mulayam Singh decided which ministers to drop and which ministers to lose their portfolios, the reshuffle is being projected as a reflection of Akhilesh Yadav's assertive self.

Sharat Pradhan reports from Lucknow.

In a surprise move, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday, October 29, gave marching orders to eight important ministers in his Chief Minister son Akhilesh Yadav's government in Uttar Pradesh. Nine other ministers were stripped of their portfolios.

Significantly, in sharp deviation from the conventional practice of the chief minister making such an announcement, the declaration of this reshuffle in Akhilesh Yadav's council of ministers was made through a media statement issued by UP Governor Ram Naik's office.

While there was no communication from the Samajwadi Party office, it is an open secret that the final decision was taken by party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav.

The most prominent among those dropped as ministers are Other Backward Classes and Disabled Welfare Minister Ambika Chaudhary and Technical Education Minister Shivakant Ojha -- both well-educated, sober and seasoned Socialists.

Others ministers dropped are Narad Rai (Khadi and Village Industries), Aridaman Singh (Stamps and Court Fee) and Shiv Kumar Beria (Textiles and Silk).

The ministers of state to be removed are Alok Kumar Shakya (Technical Education), Yogesh Pratap Singh (Basic Education) and Bhagwat Sharan Gangwar (Small and Medium Industries).

Veteran minister Ahmad Hasan, who has been holding the health portfolio for years and was known for his integrity, tops the list of those who have been stripped of their portfolios.

Among others whose portfolios have been taken away are Awadhesh Prasad (Social Welfare), Paras Nath Yadav (Horticulture), Ram Govind Chaudhary (Basic Education), Durga Prasad Yadav (Transport), Brahma Shankar Tripathi (Home Guards), Raghuraj Pratap Singh (the controversial 'Raja Bhaiya') (Food and Civil Supplies), Iqbal Mahmood (Fisheries and Public Enterprises) and Mehboob Ali (Secndary Education).

The reshuffle followed deliberations in Mulayam Singh's chambers, where members of the Yadav clan remained huddled through Tuesday and Wednesday. Besides Akhilesh Yadav, his two paternal uncles Ram Gopal Yadav and Shivpal Yadav were closeted with Mulayam Singh.

While the dimension of the reshuffle has stunned many, the exercise appears to send the message that Akhilesh Yadav is, at long last, in command.

Having drawn much flak on account of the campaign that 'UP has five-and-a-half chief ministers' (of which Akhilesh is considered the half), it was time for the chief minister to change his image from that of being his father's son and his uncles' nephew.

Even though Mulayam Singh decided which ministers to drop and which ministers to lose their portfolios, the reshuffle is being projected as a reflection of Akhilesh Yadav's assertive self.

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow