Lucknow Confidential: ‘Places’ Apart

Lucknow Confidential: ‘Places’ Apart

Several party leaders felt that Akhilesh should have been by his father’s side during the flag hoisting in Lucknow.

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Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav

Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son and party president Akhilesh Yadav celebrated Independence Day at different places and many in the party were not happy about this. While Akhilesh was in SP stronghold Saifai, Mulayam hoisted the Tricolour at the party headquarters in Lucknow. Several party leaders felt that Akhilesh should have been by his father’s side during the flag hoisting in Lucknow. The leaders felt that Akhilesh needs to send out a message to party workers that he has his father’s blessings, who has in the past criticised him, including for the party’s alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party for the Lok Sabha polls. The I-Day flag hoisting ceremony in Lucknow would have been a good opportunity to reinvigorate party cadre and assure them that all is well between father and son. Soon after quitting the party and filing nomination for Rajya Sabha on a BJP ticket, former senior SP leader Neeraj Shekhar claimed that the senior leadership of the party was missing from a recent protest. He may have been referring protests held by the party across the state on August 9 against the BJP government’s “failures in the state”. Although the party claimed that the protests were held on directions of Akhilesh, it is worth noting that Akhilesh was not present in the state on the day.

Balancing Act

The state government is set for the long-expected Cabinet reshuffle, which will not just include Cabinet expansion by inclusion of new ministers but is also likely to see removal of some ministers, who, according to sources, were found to be non-performers. The current Cabinet is already much below the allowed numbers and more seats became vacant after ministers such as Rita Bahuguna Joshi, SP Singh Baghel etc became Members of Parliament after the recent Lok Sabha polls and resigned from the membership of state Assembly. Sources in the government say that the reshuffle, which has been given go-ahead by the BJP leadership, would try to strike a balance by including representatives from different regions as well as castes. Apart from some party loyalists, it will be interesting to see if any newcomers also find place place in the state Cabinet. Not only this, as ties of BJP with former ally Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party, whose chief was made Cabinet Minister, are now strained. It is also to be seen if the demand by ally Apna Dal seeking ministerial berth in the state cabinet before polls will be met.

‘Press’ing Issues

The Whatsapp information group of Uttar Pradesh police, which has almost all the senior police officers and journalists as its members, is witnessing a lot of criticism and debate in the recent past. Many journalists have started alleging that focus of the group is more on presenting police in a good light rather than on giving information about the incidents of crime. Recently, a journalist alleged on the group that information on serious crime incidents are often sent late in the night, making it difficult to print them on time. While officials are yet to respond to these complaints, frequent cancellations of evening press briefing by the state police has also become a cause for concern for many. While police gives assurance that information would be sent through press notes and details can be asked in the evening press briefing, many feel that sudden cancellation of briefing takes away the opportunity of
two-way interaction on significant incidents of crime.