Lucknow: It may be a little too early to call it the end of the political honeymoon for Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, but his choices and decisions since taking charge of India's most populous state have left tongues wagging on how much is the Yadav junior a man of his own mind.
For one who gave millions hope of fair governance and spruced up law and order, the first jolt came when he not only inducted Bhadri scion Raghuraj Pratap Singh aka Raja Bhaiyya into his cabinet but inducted three others facing serious criminal cases in his government.
These include Durga Prasad Yadav (history sheeter), Parasnath Yadav (named in murder cases) and Balram Yadav (linked to Ayurveda scam during the last Mulayam Singh Yadav regime). Akhilesh Yadav defended them by saying all the cases had political overtones, but the taint is not easy to wash away.
While many admit that all developments happening in the corridors of power - be it allotment of portfolios and posting of IAS and IPS officeres - have the signature of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, close aides of the chief minister said that they found nothing wrong in interjections by seniors as "day to day matters were left to Akhilesh Bhaiyya".
Also, Akhilesh Yadav has not only retained the controversial and all powerful IAS Anita Singh as his secretary (also his father's in the last tenure) but the official has become the sole window to the 38-year-old chief minister. All files at the 'pancham tal' (fifth floor) would now go to the chief minister via Anita Singh.
The SP supremo has already made it clear that he was going to watch the activities of the state government headed by his son.
"If need be I will intervene if I find anyone, the ministers, officials or legislators going astray," Mulayam Singh said.
Mulayam Singh Yadav also met legislators and ministers, asking them to be "cautious of their public conduct".
Contrary to expectations, Yadav Junior has retained a whopping 50 portfolios - Home, Finance, Power, Vigilance, Estate, Forests, Civil Aviation, Electronics-IT, Protocol and Higher education, for himself - while attaching five ministers to himself.
By doing so, he seems to have bettered his predecessor Mayawati who held 47 portfolios.
Old timers feel this was harakiri for the young chief minister as he already has "bigger responsibilities" on his shoulder. With presidentship of the state SP still with him, a senior SP leader warned that the going might get tough sooner than later for Akhilesh Yadav.
Allocation of other departments like PWD and Irrigation to his uncle Shiv Pal Singh Yadav and Prison and Food and Civil Supplies to independent legislator Raghuraj Pratap Singh have done little good to Akhilesh Yadav's image.
This is because both these men in the previous tenure of Mulayam Singh had their share of controversies.