Akhilesh Yadav's cabinet expansion: Tainted leaders Prajapati and Singh likely to be re-inducted

Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Samajwadi Party leader, is scheduled to expand his Cabinet on Monday. This will be the eighth such expansion in the Akhilesh Yadav-led government since it came to power in 2012.

Gayatri Prajapati and another sacked minister Raj Kishore Singh are likely to be re-inducted in this expansion, according to a PTI report. Sacked for alleged corruption and land grabbing, Prajapati will probably be taking oath of office and secrecy for the fourth time in the past three years.

Akhilesh Yadav had made claims of "zero tolerance" on the issue of corruption and allegations of land-grabbing against some ministers and axed Prajapati based on allegations of promoting illegal mining.

Social activist Nutan Thakur approached Governor Ram Naik with a petition to prevent Prajapati’s re-induction, with a likely meeting with the governor later in the day. “Prajapati had been removed as minister on serious corruption charges after the order of Allahabad High Court for CBI inquiry,” she said in her petition.

File photo of CM Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

File photo of CM Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

The Governor is scheduled to administer the oath of office and secrecy to some new ministers, a Raj Bhawan communique said. Nutan Thakur filed the petition before the Governor just 48 hours before the oath ceremony requesting him not to re-induct Prajapati. The activist couple Nutan and Amitabh Thakur made corruption allegations against him and others, having filed a complaint with the Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta. It is one of five cases against him by various persons, all of which have either been quashed or withdrawn according to The Indian Express.

The Deccan Herald reported, “A minister is removed from office under provisions of Article 164 of the Constitution, when he loses the pleasure of the governor.... when Prajapati was removed as minister, he had lost the pleasure of the governor and hence, he cannot be re-inducted in the ministry unless the facts and reasons on which he had lost the pleasure of the Governor get removed,” she 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.

His re-induction is on the cards as part of a compromise formula to douse the flames in the Yadav clan that took the hue of a major political crisis recently where Mulayam Singh Yadav removed his son, Akhilesh Yadav as state party chief and then the CM stripped his uncle Shivpal Yadav of four key portfolios. The re-induction was announced by CM Akhilesh Yadav to end the all-out war in the party triggered by the sacking of Mining minister Gayatri Prajapati and Panchayti Raj minister Rajkishore Singh, and the resignation of Shivpal Yadav.

All the members of the Samajwadi Party have repeatedly said that any solution by Mulayam Singh Yadav would be acceptable to them and an apparent solution seems to be that Shivpal Yadav will continue to remain the state president and a new position of an executive president might be forged for Akhilesh Yadav, therefore making sure that Akhilesh Yadav is not replaced as the CM but his image of a courageous, upright visionary is hurt, according to Ratan Mani Lal of Firstpost.

The UP council of ministers can have 60 ministers and there are three vacancies at present. Another probable swearing in could be that of Ziauddin Rizvi, who was not able to take oath in July when the cabinet was last expanded. He was abroad then.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Sep 26, 2016 12:34 PM

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