The winter session of the Uttar Pradesh legislature commencing tomorrow will see Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputies Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma discharging their duties as full-fledged members of the Upper House.
The two other new faces of the BJP in the UP Legislative Council will be ministers Swatantra Dev Singh (MoS Transport and Protocol), and Mohsin Raza (MoS Science and Technology, Electronics, Information Technology, Muslim Waqf and Haj). Raza is the lone Muslim face in the council of ministers headed by Adityanath.
All of them, in September this year, were declared elected unopposed to the UP Legislative Council in the bypolls to five seats that fell vacant when the sitting members belonging to the opposition Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party resigned and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Adityanath had taken over as the chief minister of the state on March 19. He, along with the four other ministers, contested the Council bypolls to become a legislator within the stipulated time-frame of six months since assuming office.
The seats fell vacant when Bukkal Nawab, Yashwant, Sarojini Agarwal and Ashok Bajpai – all from the SP – and BSP MLC Thakur Jaiveer Singh resigned and joined the BJP subsequently. Adityanath has now become the third successive chief minister after Akhilesh Yadav (SP) and Mayawati (BSP), to take the Upper House route.
Other UP chief ministers who had opted for the Legislative Council route were Narayan Dutt Tiwari and late Ram Prakash Gupta (BJP).
Former chief minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh had become a member of UP Legislative Council in November 1980 after assuming the chief minister’s office in June 1980. He later contested a byelection from Tindwari assembly constituency, and became a member of UP Legislative Assembly in 1981.
With all the five seats going to the BJP, the party’s tally has risen to 13 in the 100-member Upper House, where the Opposition still enjoys majority. The SP has 61 members in the Legislative Council, the BSP nine, the Congress two and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) one. While 12 seats are held by ‘others’, two are vacant.
Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya will enjoy the rare distinction of being member of a third House.
Maurya was a member of UP Legislative Assembly from 2012 to 2014, representing Siarthu assembly constituency.
In May 2014, he was elected to Lok Sabha from Phulpur parliamentary constituency in Allahabad and resigned from Lok Sabha membership on September 21, 2017.