Lucknow: In what could be said to be the widening of rift within the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav replaced his son and Chief Minister Akhilesh as the state unit chief on Tuesday with his brother and senior minister Shivpal Singh Yadav.
"SP President Mulayam Singh Yadav has appointed you as the president of the Uttar Pradesh unit. It is hoped that with your hard work, you will further strengthen the party," SP national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav said in a letter addressed to Shivpal.
A copy of the letter was also marked to Akhilesh Yadav.
Hours after the development, revenue, irrigation and PWD departments was taken away from Shivpal by Akhilesh,
Shivpal was then given social welfare department, with irrigation department given to Awadhesh Prasad and revenue to Balram Yadav.
Akhilesh had kept the PWD portfolio with himself.
To be noted is the fact that yesterday Akhilesh had sacked two ministers facing corruption charges.
Mining minister Gayatri Prajapati and Panchayti Raj minister Rajkishore Singh were dropped within a span of an hour, just days after Akhilesh spoke of 'zero tolerance' on the issue of corruption and allegations of land-grabbing against some ministers.
The action came three days after the Allahabad High Court rejected the SP government's plea to withdraw an order for a CBI probe into alleged illegal mining in the state.
Taking grim view of illegal mining in Uttar Pradesh, the HC on July 28 directed the CBI to probe the matter across the state, including the role of government officials in facilitating the same, and submit a report within six weeks.
Akhilesh was said to be unhappy with the minister who was mired in controversy over allegations of promoting illegal mining.
While Rajkishore is considered close to Mulayam, Prajapati is reportedly Shivpal's favourite.
In a related development, Akhilesh earlier today had shunted out state chief secretary Deepak Singhal, considered close to Shivpal, and replaced him with Rahul Bhatnagar.
Singhal had taken over as Chief Secretary nearly two months ago.
Disagreements between Akhilesh and Shivpal have been reported on several occasions in the past, including on the choice of official to be appointed as the state's chief secretary after Alok Ranjan's term ended, and the postponement of Qaumi Ekta Dal's merger with SP.
QED is headed by mafia-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari.
Last month, Mulayam had backed Shivpal in his tussle with Akhilesh and took on the state government stating that several cabinet ministers were involved in illegal money deals.
Mulayam's remarks had come a day after Shivpal pointed at corruption within the ruling establishment and had threatened to resign.
Addressing SP workers, Mulayam had said that in case the party splits, many workers will go with Shivpal.
(With PTI inputs)