Lucknow, Aug 10: The suspension of IAS officer DurgaSaktiNagpal by the Uttar Pradesh government has eroded the credibility and popularity of chief minister AkhileshYadav. By his own admission, Yadav told reporters earlier this week he had received an SMS informing him of the "serious dent" in his popularity ratings.
Government officials too admit that the suspension saga is the worst crisis faced by the 17-month-old government after the killing of deputy superintendent of police Zia-ul-Haq in Kunda in March.
But while senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders and senior bureaucrats admitted in private that the issue was "mishandled", the state govvenment ministers went ballistic on Nagpal and even warned other IAS officers rallying behind her "to fall in line" and "know their limits" or face similar action.
The rattled 41-year-old chief minister has refused to revoke the suspension of Nagpal, who took on the sand mining mafia in Noida and has gone on to defend the act, alleging that her "immature conduct" in demolishing a wall of an under-construction mosque in a Noida village had "almost sparked off a communal flare up". Nagpal was suspended July 27 for allegedly razing the wall.
Close aides said that once the chief minister took a stand on the issue that this was purely an "administrative decision", there was no way he could backtrack. And that is what exactly happened. Despite damning disclosures in the form of reports of the local intelligence unit (LIU), the distric magistrate's report, video footage of SP leader Mahendra Bhati bragging of getting Nagpal suspended in 41 minutes and the local police report, all exonerating Nagpal of demolishing the mosque wall, Yadav has refused to budge.