Seven new ministers — one Cabinet and six minister of state — took oath of office in Lucknow
New Delhi: With an eye on the upcoming crucial Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP on Sunday tried to fine-tune its caste arithmetic and regional balance in the Yogi Adityanath-led government with a Cabinet expansion as the poll results will have an impact on the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and also the Assembly polls in several states before it.
With less than five months remaining of the current state Assembly, the BJP top brass, which emphasises on the development plank for its electoral gains, had to adjust caste calculations to send a positive message to brahmins, non-Yadav OBCs and non-Jatav dalits, who have been backing the ruling party since 2014. The party had won three fourth of the total 403 Assembly seats in 2017, with the SP, BSP and Congress facing crushing defeat.
Seven new ministers — one Cabinet and six minister of state — took oath of office in Lucknow, with former Union minister Jitin Prasada, once considered close to Congress former president Rahul Gandhi, getting the Cabinet berth in the Yogi Adityanath government. In UP, where brahmins, who are around 12 per cent of the total population and are perceived to be feeling neglected under Yogi Adityanath, the BJP top brass feels brahmin face Prasada’s inclusion in the government will send a positive message to the community and will also help in placating them.
With nearly 42-45 per cent OBCs, the BJP’s main focus has been on non-Yadav, and non-Jatav dalits. Dalits account for 20-22 per cent of the total population. While Yadavs are considered SP’s vote bank, Jatavs are Mayawati-led BSP’s core vote bank. However, both the regional parties have been aggressively wooing the brahmins this time, knowing well that the BJP will play up the Ram Mandir issue during campaigning, which can sway the influential brahmins and the Hindu vote bank. Other than the brahmin leader, three OBC, two SC and one ST leader were included in the Yogi Adityanath team. Two new ministers — Dharamvir Prajapati (OBC) and Dinesh Khatik (SC) are close to the RSS. Sanjiv Gond (ST), Chattrapal Ganvaar (OBC), Sangita Balwant Bind (OBC) and Paltu Ram(SC) were also administered oath of office by governor Anandiben Patel. The BJP top brass had been holding consultations and deliberations on whether or not to go in for Cabinet reshuffle since May this year and the CM had visited the national capital to meet the party top brass a couple of times.
After forming the first BJP government in UP after 14 year on March 19, 2017, the first expansion had taken place on August 22, 2019 when six ministers with Independent charge were administered the oath of Cabinet.