Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday sacked state Mining Minister Gayatri Prajapati and Panchayti Raj Minister Rajkishore Singh who were facing allegations of corruption.
Yadav was said to be unhappy with Prajapati who was mired in controversy over allegations of promoting illegal mining, while allegations of land grabbing and corruption had been levelled against Singh.
The action comes close on the heels of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav sounding a warning to party leaders, saying that action needed to be taken against those involved in land grabbing and other corrupt activities if the party wanted to return to power in the 2017 Assembly elections.
The Chief Minister has sacked Gayatri Prajapati and Rajkishore Singh. A letter in this regard has been received by the Raj Bhawan, a senior official told PTI. Prajapati's sacking comes days after the High Court rejected the SP government's plea to withdraw an order for a CBI probe into alleged illegal mining in the state. The opposition, however, alleged that the sacking of the ministers was just an eyewash.
Taking a grim view of illegal mining in Uttar Pradesh, the Allahabad High Court on 28 July directed the CBI to investigate the matter across the state, including the role of government officials in facilitating the same, and submit a report within six weeks.
The HC on 9 September rejected an application by the state government for withdrawal of its order. "Illegal mining is rampant in the state and it is an open secret that he was promoting it. Now when the HC has taken serious view of the matter and ordered CBI probe, the CM's decision is mere an eyewash. It will not help as people know the reality," Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi said.
BJP state general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak said it was good that CM has taken the decision to sack the minister. "Our party has been raising the matter of illegal mining in the state. The decision should have been taken earlier," Pathak said.
Prajapati began as Minister of State for Irrigation in February 2013 and was moved to the lucrative berth of mining, directly under Yadav who handled that portfolio. In July 2013, Yadav elevated Prajapati to MoS (Independent Charge) and in January 2014, he was made a Cabinet Minister.