In the first cabinet reshuffle of Yogi Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh, 23 ministers took the oath of office on Wednesday, which included both fresh faces as well as promotion for some of the existing ministers. Taking place after two-and-a-half years, the Cabinet expansion was done keeping in mind both regional as well as caste equations, with Brahmin, Chatriya and Vaish finding prominence.
The expansion included two women ministers — one in the Cabinet and one Minister of state. Due significance was also given to Varanasi constituency, represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the reshuffle. Two MLAs from Varanasi were promoted — Anil Rajbhar as Cabinet minister and Neelkhand Tiwari as Minister of State (Independent charge) along with the inclusion of Varanasi (North) MLA Ravindra Jaiswal.
Interestingly, the name of Apna Dal (Sone Lal) chief Anupriya Patel’s husband Ashish Patel was missing from the list of newly-sworn ministers. The party has sway among the Patel community in the eastern Uttar Pradesh. Instead, BJP chose its own leaders like Anil Rajbhar to represent Rajbhar community and Ram Shankar Singh Patel from Patel community.
The reshuffle included six new Cabinet ministers, six Ministers of State with independent charge as well as 11 Ministers of State. The six Cabinet ministers include four MLAs who were already serving as Ministers of State with independent charge — Muzaffarnagar riot accused MLA from Thana Bhawan Assembly Suresh Rana, Mahendra Singh, Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary and Anil Rajbhar.
The promotion of Anil Rajbhar to the Cabinet is being seen as a measure to reach out to the Rajbhar community, which constitutes around 17-18 per cent of the population in the Purvanchal region, following the exit of Om Prakash Rajbhar from the NDA.
The two new faces in the Cabinet include Kamal Rani Varun, MLA from Ghatampur in Kanpur, and Ram Naresh Agnihotri, MLA from Bhogaon in Mainpuri.
The six Ministers of State with independent charge are Neelkandh Tiwari, who was already serving as state minister, Muzaffarnagar MLA Kapil Dev Agrawal, Etwa MLA Satish Dwivedi, MLC Ashok Katariya, Ghanghata MLA Sriram Chauhan, also seen as one of the Dalit faces in the Cabinet reshuffle, and Ravindra Jaiswal. Except for Tiwari, all are new faces.
Meanwhile, 11 Ministers of State who took oath are all fresh faces — Anil Sharma, Mahesh Gupta, Anand Swaroop Shukla, Vijay Kashyap, Giriraj Singh Dharmesh, Lakhan Singh Rajpoot, Neelima Katiyar, Chaudhary Uday Bhan Singh, Chandrika Prasad Upadhyaya, Ramashankar Singh Patel and Ajit Singh Pal.
Earlier, Transport Minister Swatantra Dev Singh, who has been made Uttar Pradesh BJP chief, along with Finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal, Basic Education Minister Anupama Jaiswal, Irrigation Minister Dharampal Singh and Mining Minister Archana Pandey offered their resignations.
हर मोर्चे पर असफल होती प्रदेश की भाजपा सरकार अपनी नाकामी से ध्यान हटाने के लिए एक तरफ़ अधिकारियों के ट्रांसफ़र कर अपनी ज़िम्मेदारी से पल्ला झाड़ लेना चाहती है, तो दूसरी तरफ़ कैबिनेट का विस्तार कर जनता का ध्यान बाँटना चाहती है.
भाजपा की गुमराह करने वाली राजनीति से जनता त्रस्त है
— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) August 20, 2019
Former CM and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said the UP government was only trying to divert people’s attention from its failures. “The BJP government has failed on every front and now wants to run away from its responsibilities by transferring its officers. It is only trying to divert people’s attention through this Cabinet expansion,” Akhilesh tweeted.