Denied ministerial berth, SP MLA says party helping BJP

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    A day after he was denied a ministerial berth in cabinet expansion, Samajwadi Party MLA Shakir Ali accused his party of killing Muslim leadership to help the BJP.

    A three-time MLA, Ali had defeated the then state president of BJP Surya Pratap Shahi at Patherdeva in Deoria district in the 2012 Assembly elections.

    In the two cabinet expansions since Akhilesh Yadav came

    to power, 14 ministers have been inducted and two elevated but none from the Muslim community.

    "I was not included in the ministry to please the BJP leaders. There is a tacit understanding between our leaders and the BJP. After 18 years of my loyalty with (SP chief) Mulayam Singh Yadav, I need an answer for the insult heaped upon me," Ali said.

    He, however, did not name Mulayam while linking the party with the BJP. "Whatever I am saying had already been said by (minsiter) Azam Khan when he was not in the party," he added.

    Ali did not attend a meeting at the party office on Friday and raised fingers at several ministers in the Akhilesh Yadav government.

    "Aridaman Singh was in the BJP, he came and was made a minister. Naresh Agarwal's son became minister on his return to the party after five years. What is the reward for my loyalty of 18 years?" he asked. "I took a stand against BJP stalwarts. Every BJP leader, from L K Advani to Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Vinay Katiyar, campaigned against me but I still won. I have developed into a possible threat to them and my leadership wants to remove me," Ali said.

    However, he praised Akhilesh and claimed that he was only angry with Mulayam. "My CM is lajawab, bemisal, bejod. I didn't become a minister because of our leadership. I tried to meet Mulayam 16 times but in vain."

    ... contd.

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