Samajwadi Party leader Jugal Kishore Valmiki has resigned as the Chairman of Uttar Pradesh Rajya Safai Karamchari Aayog in protest against the sacking of sanitation workers in Meerut Municipal Corporation on the orders of Urban Development Minister Azam Khan.
Considered close to Azam, Valmiki, in his letter to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, said that it had become difficult for him to continue with the post after the sanitation workers in Meerut were sacked.
“I cannot let it happen before my eyes. Contractual employees were sacked, regular employees were having their salaries deducted. Twenty years ago, I was a sanitation worker myself. How could I tolerate it?” he said after sending his resignation.
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Sources have claimed that Akhilesh, who is yet to respond to the leader’s step, is in no mood to accept his resignation.
To ward off any signs of animosity, Valmiki maintained that he has no hard feelings against the minister, Azam Khan. “He is our senior leader. I will not comment on him. But everything was brought to his knowledge,” Valmiki said.
A “free” Valmiki has now decided to take up the cause of sacked workers. “We have held several dharnas in the past. Our voices were never suppressed like this by invoking ESMA (Essential Services Maintenance Act, the execution of which rests entirely on the discretion of the state government). I will fight their cause and ensure that their demands are fulfilled,” he said.
Sources in the party said Valmiki lost favour with Azam when he was unable to handle the strike by sanitation workers in Meerut. Sensing his dismissal, the leader acted early and shot off his resignation letter to escape embarrassment, sources claimed. Although not leaving any direct impact on the relationship between the two leaders, sources say being a Valmiki himself, Jugal Kishore was also not very influential in pacifying the Valmikis of Rampur when they had opened a front against Azam over the alleged threat of demolition of their houses.
While he may have quit the Aayog, Valmiki said he will continue to be a member of the party. Not intending to leave any signs of dissent, Valmiki attended on Monday the inauguration function of the Urdu IAS Study Centre where both Azam and Akhilesh were present.
Jugal Kishore Valmiki was appointed as Chairman in 2013 and removed in 2014 in the mass sacking of all chairmen. He was, however, reinstated within a month. He enjoyed minister of state status and had organised a rally of sanitation workers at Laxman Mela ground to express his gratitude over his appointment.