Lucknow: When Akhilesh Yadav was campaigning for the elections in Uttar Pradesh, over and over, he promised voters that if they chose his Samajwadi Party, he would reboot the state to delete the goonda-raj or lawlessness that had become its trademark.
Mr Yadav was elected chief minister with a vast majority. In recent days, his decisions suggest impunity for criminal actions and corruption within his party's senior ranks.
Today, Mr Yadav expanded his cabinet, adding 12 ministers. Among them is Vinod Kumar Singh, who was fired as a minister in October after he allegedly kidnapped a senior government medical officer to force him into hiring doctors shortlisted by the minister. Mr Singh, who is now back in power, also has three other cases of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against him.
Mr Yadav said that till an investigation into the alleged kidnapping is completed, Mr Singh should be treated as innocent.
Yesterday, a senior police officer in Gonda was transferred after he coordinated an expose that allegedly outs a minister asking the police to accept a bribe from his aide. In a taped conversation, a voice purportedly of minister KC Pandey is heard asking Navneet Rana, who was the superintendent of police in Gonda, to accept a one-lakh bribe in exchange for allowing a gang to continue illegal cattle trafficking.
So far, Mr Yadav has not taken any action against the minister. In defense, he said, "The minister is not as guilty as he is being made out to be. There are people who approach officials with some recommendations. But at the end of the day, the officials and the government have to take decisions irrespective of the 'sifarish' (recommendations)."