Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government kicked up a political storm on Wednesday with the process of withdrawal of 20,000 'political cases' being initiated, including eight against present Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

According to sources, Governor Ram Naik has okayed the withdrawal of "many cases" based on recommendations sent by the ruling BJP in the state. The cases included many against BJP leaders, a present Union Minister and the Chief Minister. As many as eight cases against the monk-turned-politician are to be withdrawn, sources said. One of the cases to be withdrawn is against Union Minister of Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla. The state government recommended the withdrawal of cases a day before it tabled an amendment Bill - Uttar Pradesh Law (Composition of Offences and Abetment of Trials) in the state assembly during the winter session on December 21. Yogi faces many cases, including breach of prohibitory orders in 1995. In this matter even a non-bailable warrant was issued against him when he was Gorakhpur MP.

A case is also against Union Minister Shukla, legislator Sheetal Pandey, BJP leaders Rakesh Singh, Sameer Singh, Narendra Singh, Vishwakarma Dwivedi, Vibhrat Chand Kaushik, Upendra Shukla, Shambhu Sharan Singh, Bhanu Pratap Singh and former state Minister Ramapati Ram Tripathi.

Chief Minister Adityanath had announced on the floor of the House, during the winter session that his government would withdraw all such cases which were slapped by predecessor governments against "political opponents and innocent people". Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders have lashed out at the decision. Spokesman of the party Naved Siddiqui told reporters that the decision has proved that the ruling BJP has nothing to do with the people and was only concerned about "white washing its own wrong doing". Congress' Akhilesh Pratap Singh said that since the Supreme Court was soon to hear cases against tainted politicians, the BJP government in the state was trying to shrug off the taint by withdrawing cases against its leaders, including the Chief Minister. Congress legislator Deepak Singh accused the state government of double speak.

"On one side they were introducing UPCOCA-like legislations and on other they are allowing their own Chief Minister go scot free in serious cases," he said in a statement released by the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee. The SP government under its previous tenure had also withdrawn 1,800-plus cases. (IANS)