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Turmoil in SP, Akhilesh sacks Shivpal and other ministers

The ongoing turmoil in Samaajwadi Party reached boiling point on Sunday as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav sacked his uncle Shivpal Yadav from the State cabinet. Three other ministers-cabinet ministers Narad Rai and Om Prakash Singh, and MoS Shadab Fatima-were also fired along with Shivpal Yadav.

Controversial Minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati was also sacked yet again. He had been sacked earlier by Akhilesh but had to re-inducted in the cabinet on insistence of Mulayam.

Akhilesh took the harsh step after a meeting with State MLAs and MLCs at his official residence in Lucknow in which Shivpal Yadav and some MLAs loyal to him were not invited.

The CM convened the meeting a day before party chief Mulayam Singh is scheduled to hold a crucial meeting with party legislators, former MPs and MLAs, candidates and block heads, which points at the seriousness of the feud.

The MLAs who attended Akhilesh's meeting said he told them anybody close to Amar Singh had no place in his cabinet.

Earlier in the day, SP general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Ramgopal Yadav wrote a one-page letter to party workers endorsing Akhilesh as the future of party. Ramgopal appealed his "dear colleagues" to ensure that a State government was formed under the leadership of his nephew. He said those supporting Akhilesh were "positive" while his detractors were "negative."

"Those opposing Akhilesh will not be able to see the face of the Vidhan Sabha. The Rath Yatra is the noose in the rival's neck...Don't get perturbed, don't be jolted. Where Akhilesh is, victory follows," Ramgopal wrote.