Yadav Pradesh: 56 out of 86 SDMs appointed by Akhilesh are his own caste
Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh represent the largest political clan in India. They occupy the seat of power in Uttar Pradesh and now they are trying to establish the dominance of their caste group at every level of the state machinery.
Akhilesh came to power in 2012 promising to be a symbol of change. But what he has ended up providing in India's most powerful state, is an administration dominated by Yadavs, that too from his own region.
The latest controversy is regarding the selection of the candidates by the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (UPPSC). Some aspirants have moved the Allahabad High Court alleging that UPPSC is favouring Yadav candidates.
Though they represent only 9% of the population in UP, they enjoy a disproportionately large share of social, economic and political power.
The petition claims that out of 86 sub-divisional magistrates chosen by the UPPSC in the last 3 years, 56 belong to the Yadav caste.
The petitioners have even gone to the extent of saying that this is UP's version of the Vyapam scam and have demanded a CBI probe into it.
"The whole game started after Anil Yadav took over as chairman (in April 2013). Rules were changed arbitrarily. Even candidates with zero marks were cleared," says Avdhesh Pandey, one of the petitioners.
In 2013, out of the 86 OBC candidates selected, 50 were Yadavs. Why is one caste reaping the quota benefits?
The aspirants have presented a result of over a dozen examinations conducted under Anil Yadav's tenure to back their claims. They have formed the Bhrashtachar Mukti Morcha to fight against UPPSC's arbitrariness.
Taking cognisance of the issue, UP Governor Ram Naik said on 22 July that he would press for an investigation into the alleged irregularities in the selection of candidates by UPPSC.
In 2013, among the 86 backward community candidates who were selected, 50 were Yadavs. Even those candidates who had low grades in the written examination scored exceptionally well in the interview.
"There are 276 OBC castes in UP. How can one OBC caste grab a majority of the jobs conducted by the commission in the last two years?" Kaushal Singh, one of the petitioners, told reporters.
Last year, a sting titled 'Operation Sarkar' revealed how deep the rot of casteism runs in the UPPSC. It exposed how marks are tampered and merit lists changed at one call from Delhi or Lucknow.
The Opposition, particularly the BSP, is taking the SP government to task on this. BSP supremo Mayawati, has accused the government of patronising Yadavs and acting against Dalits.
"There are no opportunities for UP's youth because all the government positions are going to one community and region," says senior BSP leader Swami Prasad Maurya. The region Maurya refers to are districts like Mainpuri, Etah, Badaun and Etawah - the belt where Mulayam Singh Yadav's clan comes from.
"When Akhilesh came to power, he promised that he will protect the dignity and self-respect of UP's youth. He also promised an unemployment allowance, which has now been discontinued," Maurya points out.
Congress leader Akhilesh Pratap Singh says that the UPPSC is facing a crisis of credibility and the state government needs to restore it. "The state government should respond urgently so that it doesn't become another Vyapam Case," he says. .
Anil Yadav has made headlines for all the wrong reasons ever since he took over as chairman of the UPPSC. Results of three PCS exams were either quashed or amended following the court's intervention in the past two years.
Yadav implemented a three-tier reservation system barely a month after he became the chairman. Caste-based quotas were introduced at the written stage itself. However, the decision had to be reversed after students began protesting on the streets.
Under Yadav, UPPSC also quashed the system of declaring answers of objective questions after the examination. The High Court overturned this order in June this year.
The UPPSC's decision of mentioning the names of candidates in the final results also drew flak. It is alleged that is being done to hide the caste of successful candidates.