Former Uttar Pradesh minister Shivpal Yadav on Monday said he was removed from his post by nephew and state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav for checking “wrongs” in the Samajwadi Party, PTI reported. “I had protested against those doing illegal work and land grabbing. That is why I am out of the ministry,” he said. The senior leader was recently relieved of his Cabinet portfolios for the second time in two months, amid infighting in the Samajwadi Party.

“I will continue to raise my voice against those doing illegal work and am always with those who are doing good work – be it religious or anything else,” the president of the party’s state unit said in Sambhal district, where he had gone to lay the foundation stone for a temple. He blamed the bureaucracy for halting the construction work of the temple after members of the Muslim community protested against it on Sunday, The Indian Express reported.

The Samajwadi Party has been attempting to project a united front following infighting. The party leaders had attended Akhilesh Yadav's Vikas Rath Yatra on Thursday. At the election rally, Shivpal Yadav, who has had his differences with his nephew, endorsed Akhilesh publicly. “I would want to wish Akhilesh all the best. Hope he brings back the SP government in Uttar Pradesh.”

The infighting in the party was triggered by Shivpal Yadav being appointed the state chief in September. The move, which was reportedly implemented because of fears of an anti-incumbency vote, did not go down well with Akhilesh Yadav, who had then relieved his uncle of major portfolios in the Cabinet. Mulayam Singh Yadav had to intervene to bring the situation under control. The chief minister’s supporters are reportedly functioning independently from a separate office in Lucknow.