Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday restored the charge of Meerut to Minorities Welfare Minister Azam Khan,defusing the crisis created by Khan when he relinquished the charge of Ghaziabad and Muzaffarnagar districts after he was removed as in-charge of Meerut. Khan had also said that the CM could even drop him from the Cabinet if he liked.
The necessary order was issued by the Planning Department and reached Khans office in the evening,sources said.
Exactly a week ago,the Chief Minister had divested the charge of Meerut from Khan,who is number 2 in the Cabinet,and given it to Panchayati Raj Minister Balram Yadav following complaints that Khan was promoting factionalism in the party in Meerut. In place of Meerut,Khan was given the charge of Pilibhit.
Khan took the change as a personal slight and wrote a letter to Yadav,saying he was relinquishing the charge of other districts as well.
SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav,who was in Lucknow,was reportedly annoyed over the development. Asked to comment on the controversy Thursday morning,he retorted: Yes,both (Akhilesh and Khan) are at daggers drawn. They are fighting with lathis and swords,is it fine?
Attempts to bury the controversy began soon. The CM,who was in Kanpur to attend the last rites of SP leader Harmohan Singh,said: These are small things within the party. If Azam Khan is angry we will pacify him. It is not a big incident.
Khan,for his part,said somebody had leaked his letter to the Chief Minister. At times we differ on issues. Sometimes there is an oral discussion and at times we write a letter to put across our points. These letters are confidential and if they are leaked then it is a serious issue. It should be seen who is behind the game.
In Meerut,Minister of State for Labour and Employment Shahid Manzoor,who is believed to have complained that Khan was promoting his rival SP MLC Sarojini Agarwal,clarified he had nothing to do with the controversy. Both Agarwal and Manzoor want to contest the Lok Sabha election.
Sources said Mulayam discussed the matter with party general secretary Ramgopal Yadav. It was felt getting tough with Khan will create an impression that the party was promoting a Yadav minister at the cost of a Muslim minister.