Sources said the announcement, made by the SP headquarters here, took the Chief Minister by surprise. Akhilesh is also state president of the SP and in-charge of the party’s frontal organisations.
Lathar is the second leader to be axed from the group of youth leaders close to Akhilesh. Earlier, the pa’ty’s national secretary Rajeev Rai, who was the SP’s face on TV channels during the election campaign, was stripped of his post soon after government formation in March — on the ground that he had overstepped his brief in a TV programme.
The announcement said Lathar had been removed on grounds of his indifference towards organisational work and serious complaints. Party spokesperson Rajendra Choudhary said the action had been taken by the party’s national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav on the instructions of party president Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Sources said Lathar, who was active in western UP and Ghaziabad, had made certain recommendations which came in the line of fire of Ram Gopal, whose word is treated as final in any issue related to Noida and adjoining areas.
Besides, he was allegedly trying to emerge as the Jat face of the party, which reportedly ruffled the feathers of the party spokesperson, also a Jat who owes his position to proximity to the Yadav family.
Hailing from Jind in Haryana, Lathar has been associated with the party for over a decade. Before the Assembly elections, he was elevated from national president of Chatra Sabha, which is the student wing of SP, to national president of Yuvjan Sabha.
During the election campaigning, he travelled extensively on the Kranti Rath along with Akhilesh. After government formation, he was a regular at the’CM’s residence and accompanied Akhilesh at functions. Lathar was specially invited by the Chief Minister for a group photograph of SP youth workers who had accompanied him on the Kranti Rath.
Later, when the Mant Assembly seat in Mathura was vacated by Rashtriya Lok `al’s Jayant Choudhary, Lathar was handpicked by Akhilesh to contest the by-election. Akhilesh addressed a meeting in Manth in Lat’ar’s support and announced that he would have a bigger responsibility if he won the election. However, Lathar finished third, but polled 50,039 votes, the highest-ever by SP in the constituency. Sources said that the party may depute a minister to look after the affairs of its youth organisations. Since Akhilesh is also state president of the party, he is not able to devote much time to these frontal organisations. Minister of State for Panchayati Raj Kamal Akhter is considered the favourite. He has been national president of Yuvjan Sabha and also a Rajya Sabha member.