Miffed at his powers being curtailed, senior Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan has sent a terse letter to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav offering to quit the cabinet, leaving the four-month Samajwadi Party (SP) government to face its first political crisis
In his letter to Akhilesh Yadav sent Wednesday midnight, Khan offered to resign from the post of minister in-charge of Ghaziabad and Muzaffarnagar districts. Khan, who had been divested of Meerut, also wrote that if the chief minister thought he was not fit to be a minister, he could resign from the cabinet as well.
The late night developments caught the Akhilesh Yadav government unawares. The chief minister, close aides told IANS, was not prepared for such an offensive.
"While Khan saheb is known for his off and on angry outbursts against colleagues and officials, the fact that he has decided to take on the chief minister directly has come as a shock to us," the aide said.
About a month back, different districts were assigned to senior ministers and Khan was given the important charge of Ghaziabad, Meerut and Muzaffarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh. As in-charge of these districts, Khan, the urban development and parliamentary affairs minister, was head of several committees overseeing developmental projects.
Three days ago, another minister, Balram Yadav, was given the charge of Meerut and Khan was divested of the charge.
Soon after his removal from the post of minister in-charge of Meerut, Khan sought a meeting with SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. However, Mulayam Singh was not well and the meeting did not take place.
Following this, the mercurial Khan, shot off a letter to the chief minister offering to quit as minister-in-charge of Ghaziabad and Muzaffarnagar as well.
In the letter, Khan has told the 39-year-old Akhilesh Yadav that he had no objection to demitting the cabinet berth as well if there were better "deserving and capable people".
Party sources said Mulayam Singh would intervene to quell the discontent.