India: Akhilesh Yadav sacks uncle Shivpal, 4 other cabinet ministers

Akhilesh loyalists consider Amar Singh as 'outsider' and is blamed for the bad blood between Shivpal and Akhilesh Yadav (in picture). Photograph:( AFP )

WION Uttar Pradesh, India Oct 23, 2016, 08.36 AM (IST)

Uttar Pradesh state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has fired his uncle Shivpal Yadav, and four other ministers from the state cabinet.

Earlier in the day, Yadav called a meeting of members of the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council and other ministers, excluding Shivpal Yadav.

Shivpal Yadav and Mulayam Singh, the latter being Akhilesh's father and party leader, represent the old guard of the Samajwadi party, and Akhilesh represents the new ideology.  

Raju Yadav, a member of the Legislative Assembly from Manipur, said, "CM said in the meeting that whoever is close to Amar Singh cannot be in my cabinet," ANI reported. 

Amar Singh is a close associate of both Shivpal Yadav and Mulayam Singh, and is considered by Akhilesh loyalists to be an "outsider" who is blamed for the bad blood between Shivpal and Akhilesh. 

The rift in the family that dominates the politics of India's northern Uttar Pradesh state started in September, when Shivpal replaced his nephew as Samajwadi party's president. Akhilesh hit back by taking three major portfolios from Shivpal.

The meeting took place a day after Akhilesh's close supporter Udayveer Singh was sacked from the party by Shivpal, after he wrote a letter to Mulayam Singh, persuading him to name Akhilesh Yadav as the political parties national president and insulted Mulayam's second wife, as per media reports. 

"Udayveer Singh has been expelled from the party for six years for his undignified and undisciplined behavior," party spokeswoman Ambika Chaudhary said.

The political and family feud is a cause of worry for the Samajwadi party, as Assembly elections take place next year. With an approximate population of about 200 million, this state is a key battleground for all political parties in India. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)