Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav might be moving heaven and earth to refurbish the tarnished image of his ruling Samajwadi Party, but he seems to have more embarrassment in store.
Vandalism by a cabinet minister in Gonda and molestation charge levelled by a girl against a former SP MP and now Lok Sabha nominee have caused the chief minister much worry.
The 39-year-old chief minister, who on the completion of one year in office on March 15, had expressed deep concern over the state of law and order, was compelled to eat a humble pie in the state assembly where the entire opposition trained guns on him for his failure to tame his party leaders.
On Monday morning, while addressing a high-level meeting to review law and order in the state, Akhilesh Yadav had warned senior officials of stern action for any lapses in law and order. “Nobody, no matter how high and mighty, should be allowed to get away for violating the law,” said.
What caused Akhilesh to face the heavy brunt of the opposition attack was the molestation bid by former SP MP C N Singh, whom SP supremo Mulayam Singh had declared the party’s 2014 Lok Sabha nominee from Pratapgarh.
According to the FIR lodged with the Government Railway Police at Shahjahanpur railway station, Singh had made obscene passes at a lady passenger travelling on the Delhi-bound Padmavati Express train.
It was after much effort that the FIR was lodged against the ruling party leader, who was widely known for party hopping -- from SP to Congress, back to SP then to BSP and then back to SP. Though his unlawful acts were no secret, Singh continued to remain a hot favourite of Mulayam, who rewarded him with a ticket for the 2014 Lok Sabha election. As former teacher in a degree college in Barabanki, he was involved in a similar controversy a couple of years ago.
While he was taken into custody and put under detention at the GRP police station in Shahjahanpur, his clout in the government enabled him to go scot free in the next few hours. The administration had compelled the victim to withdraw the case. Even as chief minister Akhilesh Yadav initially acknowledged that a report was registered against Singh, barely an hour later, top railway police officials declared, “there is no case against the SP leader as the complainant had withdrawn her complaint.”
It was officially stated, “The girl has said in a communication to the district magistrate of Shahjahanpur that it was on account of some misunderstanding that she had lodged the complaint.”
In the second case of embarrassment to Akhilesh Yadav, Minister of State for Secondary Education Vinod Singh (better known as Pandit Singh) pulled down two shops allotted to him by the Gonda municipal board to create a passage for a commercial complex built by him behind the shops.
On being confronted, he claimed, “The shops were demolished because of the popular demand for a passage to the locality behind.” He said, “The shops were allotted to me way back in 2005 so what’s wrong if I demolished the shops.”
Accusing the minister of openly defying the law, Municipal Board Chairman Rupesh Kumar Srivastava has served a written notice to the minister to rebuild the shop within a week.
However, the minister who was earlier in October 2012, dropped from the council of ministers on the charge of “abduction of the district chief medical officer”, was reinstated by Akhilesh last month. “We had ordered a probe against Singh and the inquiry report has given him a clean chit, hence we decided to induct him as a minister again,” Akhilesh had then said.