Akhilesh calls merger with mafia don’s party an ‘internal matter’

Lucknow : The Samajwadi Party’s embrace of the party of mafia don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari is an “internal matter” and his “displeasure” over the merger is a “media invention,” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said on Thursday.

Seeking to downplay the rift in the party over the issue, Akhilesh Yadav suggested in reply to a query that the media was responsible for the perception that there are differences in his family over the merger with Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal.

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The Yadav family practically controls the Samajwadi Party (SP).

The chief minister, however, evaded questions by reporters on the sacking of Secondary Education Minister Balram Yadav, who was shown the door soon after SP-Quami Ekta Dal merger was announced.

The SP sources had then told reporters that this was Akhilesh’s way of showing displeasure at the development as Balram Yadav had “networked” for the merger.

Balram Yadav, an old colleague of SP chief and Akhilesh’s father Mulayam Singh Yadav, has so far maintained studied silence on the matter and said that he was dedicated to the party.

He, however, choked with emotions on Wednesday, apparently unable to control his hurt at being ousted from the cabinet so unceremoniously.

Mukhtar Ansari founded the Quami Ekta Dal in 2010 along with his brothers Afzal Ansari and Sigbatullaha Ansari. The mafia don is in jail for his alleged involvement in the murder of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Krishnanand Rai.

The Quami Ekta Dal has two legislators in the 404-member Uttar Pradesh assembly, including Mukhtar Ansari who represents Mau constituency.