Expansion of Yogi cabinet by month-end, Jitin Prasada likely to get ministerial berth

By Express News Service

LUCKNOW: The late Thursday evening rush of UP CM Yogi Adityanath to Delhi and his meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president JP Nadda has made the corridors of power in Lucknow abuzz with speculations of an impending cabinet expansion soon after Rakshabandhan.

As per the highly placed sources, with the expansion of the Yogi cabinet, the nomination of four members of the Legislative Council will also take place. However, the name of the members to be nominated to the Council were reportedly finalised at the meeting of CM Yogi with Shah and Nadda in presence of UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh and organisational general secretary Sunil Bansal.

At present, the Yogi cabinet has 53 members of which 23 hold cabinet ranks, nine ministers of state with independent charge and 21 are ministers of state. As per the provision, a total of 60 ministers could be accommodated in the cabinet. So, the cabinet has seven places to be filled now.

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The sources claimed that the names of former bureaucrat and UP BJP vice–president Arvind Kumar Sharma, Jitin Prasada, the former Congress leader who recently joined BJP, and Dr Sanjay Nishad, the chief of Nishad Party, were discussed as the possible inductees in the expansion of Yogi cabinet.

CM Yogi returned to Lucknow on Friday morning.

The sources claimed that consensus was evolved in the meeting in Delhi to include some faces to strike the caste balance in the cabinet ahead of the upcoming 2022 Assembly polls. Prominent among those whose names were considered for Council included Dr Sanjay Nishad, Jitin Prasad, and former UP BJP chief Lakshmi Kant Bajpai.

The sources claimed that Sanjay Nishad could find a place in the cabinet as he comes from a most backward caste. He had recently met Nadda and Shah in Delhi to discuss the OBC factor in the state in the wake of a new OBC bill passed in the Parliament equipping the states to draw their own OBC list. 

Moreover, the names of Jitin Prasada were doing rounds to placate the Brahmins who have been supposedly sulking for quite some time.