Lucknow, Jun 18: In a reshuffle of his cabinet, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav dismissed a minister and changed the portfolio of 13 key ministers, a state spokesman here said. The statement came after the cabinet rejig late on Tuesday night.
Pawan Pandey, minister of state for entertainment tax, who in the 2012 state assembly elections defeated BJP veteran Lallu Singh in Ayodhya, was given marching orders.
He was recently given a dressing down by Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. Other prominent faces who fell from grace include Prisons Minister Rajendra Chowdhary, Basic Education Minister Ram Govind Chaudhary and Balram Yadav (Panchayati Raj).
Manoj Pandey, another minister who was given prominence as the ‘brahmin’ face of the party in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls has also been “cut to size” and divested of his important portfolios.
The reshuffle comes after days of speculation that the SP leadership was miffed at the performance of these ministers who failed to get the party votes in Lok Sabha polls, reducing the party’s tally in Lok Sabha to five seats from the 80 in Uttar Pradesh.
Insiders said the reshuffle had the stamp of the senior Yadav and was the reason that even state spokesman and Prisons Minister, Rajendra Chowdhary, who was by the side of the chief minister at all public events, was not spared and handed over political pensions department.
Vijay Mishra, first time legislator from Ghazipur also lost a plum portfolio to be given religious affairs department. Mehboob Ali, Fareed Mehfooz Kidwai, Kailash Yadav and former IIM professor Abhishek Mishra, who is a first time MLA from the state capital have however been given additional portfolios, indicating their rise on the power ladder.