The Akhilesh Yadav government is in damage control mode over the Durga Nagpal suspension now. However, nothing seems to be going right for the SP government as it fights with its back to the wall on the issue. What would be specially worrying for the beleaguered UP chief minister are reports of common people coming out on the streets in several cities across the state to vent their anger against the government’s allegedly indiscreet step.
A special force to check illegal mining activities in the state has been announced, an inquiry has been ordered into the statement of SP leader Narendra Singh Bhati who had boasted about getting the lady IAS officer suspended, and advertisements are being given out in newspapers to refurbish the image of the Akhilesh regime.
But for the time being these tactics do not seem to be working. Popular support for the suspended IAS officer seems to be growing by the day. On Saturday, common people demonstrated in several cities, including Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur, Gorakhpur and Meerut, against the SP regime. A similar extempore protest was also reported at the Surajpur collectorate in Gautam Budh Nagar.
Meanwhile, Akhilesh Yadav in his capacity as UP SP president has constituted a committee to look into the statement made by senior party leader Narendra Singh Bhati about Durga’s suspension. But the move is not likely to convince anyone as the panel consists Bhati’s brother Vijendra, too, apart from three other party leaders from west UP.
Narendra Bhati was seen on TV channels boasting that he got Durga suspended in a matter of minutes, though he later blamed the media for “distorting” his statement.
Minister of state for mining (independent charge) Gayatri Prasad Prajapati has said the government is considering a proposal to set up a new force to check illegal mining activities in the state. The minister said fresh recruitments would be done and those employed would be trained and also given latest arms to combat the mining mafia.
On Saturday, there were full-page advertisements in most mainstream dailies touting the welfare schemes rolled out under the SP regime in an obvious bid to refurbish the Akhilesh government’s image which has taken a beating over the suspension episode.
The SP government even got a prominent Muslim cleric to endorse its stand on the IAS officer’s suspension. “The suspension was a correct decision,” said Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, Naib Imam of Lucknow and member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).
Meanwhile, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has written a letter to prime minister Manmohan Singh asking him to find ways to intervene and put an end to the unfair treatment meted out to the suspended IAS officer.