As the ruling party in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh grapples with internal rift, state unit chief Shivpal Yadav today expelled minister Tej Narain Pandey alias Pawan Pandey from the party for six years , Indian news agency PTI reported. Pandey is considered to be a close aide of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
This comes three days after Akhilesh sacked his uncle Shivpal and three other ministers from the cabinet.
"Pawan Pandey is being expelled from the Samajwadi Party for six years on charges of indiscipline," Shivpal announced at a press conference at the party headquarters here.
Pandey had reportedly clashed with SP member of legislative council (MLC), Ashu Malik, at party a meet and also beaten him up. The MLC had alleged that he was slapped by him at the chief minister's residence.
"Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had called me to clarify things related to a news article published in an English daily wherein Akhilesh Yadav was referred to as Aurangzeb and SP Chief Mulayam Singh as Shahjahan," Malik had told reporters after the incident.
"When I was at CM's residence, party leader Pawan Pandey came and attacked me. He slapped me twice," he said.
"I was asked to show up as the chief minister wanted to clarify things related to the news article in front of people but my presence was misunderstood by others."
However, Malik, who had lodged a written complaint against Pandey, said that Akhilesh was not present at his residence when the incident took place. No police complaint has been registered in the matter so far.
Meanwhile, Shivpal, while clarifying that there was no dispute in the state's first family, also said that he has sent a letter to the chief minister requesting him to sack Pandey from his ministry.
On Tuesday, party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had said that the "party and family are united", he had said.
"There is not 'matbhed' (difference) or 'manbhed' (ill feelings) among our leaders," Yadav said.
Asked whether Shivpal and other sacked ministers would then be reinstated in the Akhilesh cabinet, he had said, "I leave this to CM.... You ask him why he made them ministers and why he sacked them.