Akhilesh Yadav sacks eight ministers, strips nine of portfolios

Akhilesh Yadav sacks eight ministers, strips nine of portfolios
Facing accusations of inefficiency, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today sacked eight ministers and stripped nine others of their portfolios ahead of Saturday's cabinet reshuffle, an exercise aimed at refurbishing the image of his government.

Some new faces are likely to be accommodated in the rejig in the 43-month-old Samajwadi Party government, which can have a maximum number of 60 ministers.

Of the eight ministers dropped, five are Cabinet ministers and three Ministers of State (MoS).

The ministers who have been dropped from the Cabinet are Raja Mahendra Aridaman Singh (Stamp and Court Fees, Civil Defence, Registration), Ambika Chaudhary, (Backward Class Welfare, Handicapped Welfare), Shiv Kumar Beria (Textile and Sericulture Industries), Narad Rai (Khadi and Village Industries) and Shivkant Ojha (Technical Education).

MoS Alok Kumar Shakya (Technical Education), Yogesh Pratap Singh alias Yogesh Bhaiya (Basic Education) and Bhagwat Sharan Gangawar (MSME, Export Promotion) have also been dropped.

"On the recommendation of the Chief Minister, the Governor has removed five cabinet ministers and three MoS," a Raj Bhawan spokesman said, adding the new ministers will take oath on October 31.

The development came a day after Yadav met Governor Ram Naik to discuss expansion of his cabinet.

Besides, portfolios of nine ministers, including Health Minister Ahmad Hasan and controversial Food and Civil Supplies minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya, have been withdrawn.

Apart from them, the ministers whose portfolios have been withdrawn are Awadhesh Prasad (Social Welfare, SC&ST Welfare, Sainik Welfare), Paras Nath Yadav (Horticulture and Food Processing), Ram Govind Chaudhary (Primary Education), Durga Prasad Yadav (Transport), Brahamshanker Tripathi (Homeguards, Prantiya Raksha Dal), Iqbal Mehmood (Fisheries, Public Enterprises) and Mehbood Ali (Secondary Education).

They will, however, continue as ministers, official sources said. These ministers will be allocated fresh portfolios later and the departments hitherto held by them will remain with the chief minister.

Ambika Chaudhary, an MLC, is considered close to SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and wields considerable influence in eastern UP.

Reacting to the development, BJP raised the issue of illegal mining in the state and questioned as to why Mining Minister Gayatri Prajapati was not sacked.

"It is the privilege of the government to reshuffle the cabinet, but I will question why they are soft on the issue of Gayatri Prajapati," BJP state president Laxmi Kant Bajpai told reporters here.

He also charged SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav with being soft on Urban Development Minister Mohammed Azam Khan, who he alleged was vitiating the communal atmosphere in the state.

"Why doesn't the government consider the issue of Khan, who is vitiating the communal atmosphere with his statements," Bajpai said.

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