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Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Many new faces in Cabinet likely in UP reshuffle

While many leaders have got hints about their inclusion, Finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal was the first leader to offer his resignation.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow | Published: August 21, 2019 2:33:30 am
Uttar Pradesh: Private universities Bill passed amid protests by Oppn MLAs Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The Yogi Adityanath Cabinet in Uttar Pradesh, which is set for its first reshuffle on Wednesday, is likely to see the inclusion of several fresh faces.

The UP Cabinet has 43 members. The maximum strength of the Cabinet can be 61 — 15 per cent of the Assembly’s total strength of 403 seats.

Sources in the government confirmed that the reshuffle will take place on Wednesday at the Raj Bhavan. While many leaders have got hints about their possible inclusion or removal, state Finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal was the first minister to offer his resignation. At least five other ministers have offered their resignation, sources said.

Sources close to Agarwal confirmed his resignation on Tuesday, but maintained that he did so citing his age — he is 75 years old and wanted to step down on his own.

Some of the ministers expected to be dropped from the Cabinet include Education Minister Anupama Jaiswal, Women and Child Welfare Minister Swati Singh, Minister for Youth and Sports Chetan Chauhan and state Cooperative Societies Minister Mukut Bihari Verma.

A senior party leader said, “The expansion is being done after much deliberation and would try to strike a balance of region as well as caste, and would have both young faces and women. It would be a true symbol of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’.”

Vidya Sagar Sonkar, who has been associated with the party for over three decades and has also been head of the BJP’s SC-ST Morcha, is likely to be included in the Cabinet. Sonkar was made an MLC by the party even after he lost from Jaunpur in the 2017 Assembly elections.

Ashish Patel, the husband of Apna Dal MP Anupriya Patel, can also be possibly included in the Cabinet. Anupriya Patel was a Union minister in the previous Narendra Modi government but was not given a Cabinet berth after this year’s general election. Ashish Patel’s possible inclusion may be a way to appease the Apna Dal.

Sources say that Pankaj Singh, the son of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, is also likely to be included in the Cabinet.

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