SP leaders hope to lessen Akhilesh’s berth ‘baggage’

Barely a week after the Samajwadi Party (SP) government was formed, lobbying has reached its zenith among SP leaders for cornering ministerial berths.

The exercise gained further momentum after 11 more departments were assigned to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday, giving rise to speculation that very soon he will shed some baggage and MLAs will be rewarded with ministerial positions.

At present, the SP government has 47 ministers, including 19 cabinet ministers, four state ministers (independent charge) and 24 state ministers. The state — with 403-member strong Assembly — can have 60 ministers.

However, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav shrugged off any such developments. "At least leave something to us. There is no such thing presently," said Mulayam Singh at the party office, in presence of his son Akhilesh.

Several MLAs who were expecting ministerial berths are now using every tactics to get their name in list. Besides being a regular at the party office, these leaders are also meeting religious leaders urging them to recommend their names to the SP leadership.

Recently eminent Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad met Mulayam Singh and urged him to include Shadab Fatima, the MLA who has won from Zahoorabad in Ghazipur, as minister. The reasoning being that the present ministry does not have any Shia Muslim. Some Shia Muslims from Sitapur also met Jawwad and urged him to place words with the SP supremo in favour of for four time MLA Radhey Shayam Jaiswal. Till now both the recommendations are yet to materialise.

Some senior MLAs, who held minister's post in the past, were sure about their inclusion in the cabinet. However their hopes were dashed when the Akhilesh ministry was constituted. Shakir Ali, who was a minister in the previous Mulayam regime and this time won from Pathardeva in Kushinagar, is one of them. Another former minister Narad Rai from Ballia too is trying hard to be included in the ministerial expansion.

Four-term MLA from Purwa in Unnao, Udairaj Yadav and Deepak Kumar (Unnao) are also still hoping for a ministerial berth.

Besides the senior, some younger MLAs too are hopeful of finding favour with the young CM. Irfan Solanki from Sisamau in Kanpur, Arun Kumar Verma from Sadar in Sultanpur, Tej Narain Pandey from Ayodhya are among those who think that luck will smile on them.

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