The BJP’s win in Uttar Pradesh has paved the way for the first reshuffle of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s council of ministers to fill the vacancies created by three state ministers winning the Lok Sabha election and a fourth being sacked. The exercise, the first since March 2017 when the Adityanath government was sworn in, is also likely to reward party’s leaders for their hard work in ensuring a win in 62 of the 80 seats in the state, BJP sources said.
The three cabinet ministers who contested the Lok Sabha election and won are S P Singh Baghel from Agra, Rita Bahuguna Joshi from Allahabad, and Satyadev Pachauri from Kanpur. A vacancy has also been created after disgruntled minister and SBSP leader O P Rajbhar was sacked by the chief minister for his outburst against his senior NDA partner, the BJP. Adityanath indicated during a recent interview to PTI that a cabinet reshuffle was very much on the cards and he is likely to take a decision soon. “We will do it (Cabinet expansion). We will do everything as and when time comes. We will do everything in the interest of the state,” he said.
The two loyalists who are likely to be rewarded with elevated posts are Mahendra Singh and Swatantradev Singh, in charge of the party’s campaigns in Assam and Madhya Pradesh, respectively, party insiders said. While Mahendra Singh is minister of state (independent charge) for Rural Development and Overall Village Development, Swatantradev Singh is minister of state (independent charge) for Transport and Protocol. “Mahendra Singh was the party’s in-charge in Assam, where the BJP won nine out of 14 Lok Sabha seats. After the elections were over in Assam, he was assigned the task of organising the roadshow of BJP chief Amit Shah in Amethi and Gorakhpur. Both the roadshows were highly successful,” a senior UP BJP leader told PTI.
Another leader pointed out that Swatantradev Singh was made in-charge of the crucial state of Madhya Pradesh, where the party bagged 28 out of 29 Lok Sabha seats. “The task was indeed very challenging as the BJP had lost in the assembly elections to the Congress. To boost the morale of the party workers and to ensure that a positive result for the party comes from that state was a tough task. His efforts paid rich dividends for the party, as Congress bigwigs such as Digvijay Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia had to taste defeat,” he said.
The other ministers contesting the parliamentary polls registered handsome wins. Baghel, minister for Animal Husbandry, Minor Irrigation and Fisheries, won the Agra seat by a margin of 2.11 lakh votes. Joshi, the minister of Women’s Welfare, Family Welfare, Mother and Child Welfare and Tourism, won from Allahabad by defeating her nearest rival by 1.84 lakh votes. Satyadev Pachauri holds the portfolio of Khadi Village Industries, Sericulture, Textile, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Export Promotion, won Kanpur by over 48,000 votes. A fourth minister who contested lost his election.
UP Cooperative Minister Mukut Bihari Verma lost to BSP’s Ritesh Pandey by 95,880 votes in Ambedkar Nagar. The monsoon session of the UP Legislative Assembly likely in the next couple of months.