In a sensational move, Uttar Pradesh's powerful Urban Development Minister Azam Khan on Wednesday offered to resign from the Akhilesh Yadav government.
Highly-placed sources claimed that Azam, who is not only the senior-most member of the Akhilesh cabinet but also one of the founders of the Samajwadi Party, chose to take the extreme step as a mark of protest against the chief minister's decision to divest him of the responsibility of Meerut district of which he was in charge in addition to his portfolio.
It was an open secret that Akhilesh's decision was prompted by complaints against Azam by Shahid Manzoor, a junior minister belonging to Meerut.
Manzoor was stated to have alleged that he was often humiliated by Azam.
In his capacity as a senior minister, Azam was assigned to look after three districts -- Meerut, Muzaffarnagar and Ghaziabad.
In his bid to resolve the tussle between the two warring ministers, Akhilesh found it convenient to pull out Azam Khan from Meerut and entrust him with the charge of Pilibhit district.
However, the chief minister's unilateral decision seriously offended Azam, who instantly shot off a letter to him, offering
The letter that was sent late Wednesday night states, "Agar meri qaabliyat main itnee kamee hai ki main Meerut ka prabhari mantra naheen rah sakta hoon to Ghaziabad aur Muzaffarnagar bhi bahut mahatwapoorn zile hain...unke prabhari mantri pad se bhi aap mujhe hata sakte hain. Aur agar aap ko lagta hai ki mere andar mantri banne kee bhi qaabliyat naheen hai to main sarkar pe bojh ban ke mantri bane rahna naheen chahta (If I am so incapable that I cannot remain minister in charge of Meerut district, then let me tell you that Ghaziabad and Muzaffarnagar are also equally important districts. Please feel free to remove me from the charge of those districts too. And in case you feel that I do not have the capability to remain a minister, then I would not like to remain a burden as a minister of your government).
Even as Azam's move has created a flutter in the corridors of power in Lucknow, there was no official word from any level. Neither the chief minister nor anyone else in the chief minister's office was available for comment.