Days after Mulayam Singh Yadav warned Uttaer Pradesh ministers to "mend" their ways or face the sack, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday removed Anand Kumar Singh and Manoj Paras from his ministry apparently as they had earned the ire of the Samajwadi Party supremo.
While Singh was a cabinet minister with agriculture portfolio, Paras was a minister of state with stamp and civil defence departments. Though no reason has been cited by the government for sacking of these ministers, party sources said that SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav was unhappy with Singh's son Kirtivardhan joining the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Kirtivardhan had in a press conference in Gonda on Saturday attacked Mulayam, accusing him of propagating dynastic politics. He had even alleged that he had to pay a "bribe" of Rs 5,000 to meet Mulayam when he was the chief minister though he was a party member of Parliament, a charge denied by the Samajwadi Party.
"In 2004, when Yadav was CM, I had to give Rs 5,000 packet to his personal secretary to meet him in the capacity of MP," Singh, who resigned from SP and joined the BJP recently, told reporters.
The sources said Paras was also involved in anti-party activities and that Mulayam had received complaints against him. With their sacking, the leadership intends to send a strong message to party men ahead of Lok Sabha elections.
Voicing dissatisfaction with the performance of UP ministers, Mulayam had on Wednesday said that the state government was "weakening" the party and had ticked off his son and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav asking him to keep distance from "sycophants".
"I have not reviewed the performance of ministers in the state government but I know what they are doing. Ministers and officers, you all should mend your ways within 10 days.... The party is bigger than the government.... This government is weakening the party," Mulayam had said pulling up Akhilesh government.
"Some persons are trying to betray me and think that they will continue as ministers...," he had warned. The agriculture department would be looked after by the CM while the departments held by Paras would remain with Cabinet minister Mahendra Aridaman Singh, the sources said.