With an eye on the 2017 Assembly elections, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is set to reshuffle his cabinet by dropping several old faces and making room for youth leaders.
“The changes will be made for the Assembly elections. Youths have shouldered responsibilities in earlier polls and the party will adjust them for the next Assembly polls. The party leadership has agreed to it and the decision will be soon taken by the chief minister,” a senior state cabinet member said.
Sources in party claimed that change is inevitable both in the party and the government and work in this regard will begin immediately after the Samajwadi Janata Dal — headed by Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav — is in place.
On November 23, Mulayam — during a function in the presence of Akhilesh — had taken ministers to task. Though this was not the first time, Mulayam had taken names of several ministers over non-performance.
Mulayam had categorically mentioned Prison Minister Balram Yadav for not being able to manage even his village in Azamgarh. PWD Minister Shivpal Yadav had reached Azamgarh during Lok Sabha polls and was flooded with complaints against Balram Yadav and his son MLA Sangram Yadav. To settle the resentment in Azamgarh, the father-son duo may be sidelined.
Another minister in the line is Handicapped Welfare Minister Ambika Choudhary, who had earlier lost his important portfolio of Revenue. Ambika was again at receiving end when Mulayam openly stated that he was obstructing the construction of Azam Khan’s dream project Jauhar University in Rampur. Ambika, hailing from Ballia, too has a volley of complaints from the district and has earned the ire of the CM. Science and Technology Minister Manoj Pandey from Rae Bareli too has failed to bring Brahmins in SP fold. He is heading SP’s intellectual cell — rechristened form of Brahmin Sabha — which could not deliver in Lok Sabha polls.
Raja Mahendra Aridaman Singh of Agra too is on the radar, as SP has failed to show any prospects in his district. With Agra on the CM’s priority list, Raja may too lose fortune. Shivakant Ojha, another Brahmin minister (Technical Education) from Pratapgarh, is also under scanner, with the party slipping in its hold of backward castes in the region due to Ojha’s rise after he joined SP quitting BJP.
Akhilesh currently has 55 ministers in his cabinet. The party is zeroing in on youths, keeping in mind caste equations and also their utility for the 2017 elections. Some are also in line for getting elected as MLCs — elections for which are due next month.