Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath mulls expansion of state cabinet berths

By Express News Service
LUCKNOW: After the rejig of the union council of ministers on July 7, there is now a strong buzz about a similar exercise being on the cards in Uttar Pradesh. Though the speculations about expansion of the state’s council of ministers led by Yogi Adityanath have been rife since last couple of months, the buzz now is much strong than last month.

If sources in the ruling BJP are to be believed, then the expansion/revamp of Team Yogi could take place either by July-end or maximum by August first week.

Just like the recent cabinet expansion at the centre, where six SC and non Yadav OBC MPs and a Brahmin MP from the state were inducted, the rejig in the state’s council of ministers might also the same caste factor to be dominant.

As the BJP swept the 2017 assembly polls on the back of a solid non-Yadav OBC, non-Jatav SC and upper caste consolidation, legislators from the same segments are likely to be inducted in the expanded council of ministers in Lucknow too.

The BJP allies, particularly Apna Dal (S) and the NISHAD Party, both representing non-Yadav OBC segment too are likely to get their slice of the pie in the expanded state council of ministers. Presently, the state has 54 ministers, including the CM, which means there is a scope for inducting at least six new ministers to reach the maximum limit of 60 ministers.

Added to it is a strong possibility of some non performing ministers (particularly those in whose areas, the party had performed dismally in the April-May village panchayat polls) being dropped. If two to four such ministers are dropped, then there will be vacancy for eight to ten ministerial berths.

As per informed sources, a list of eight to ten probables has been sent by state BJP to the national leadership for approval. The list was finalized particularly after the recent co-ordination meeting between senior RSS functionaries and state BJP leaders in Lucknow.

If the possible Team Yogi expansion actually happens, it would be only the second such rejig in the over four years of Yogi regime. Also, it would also be the last cabinet expansion of the present government, as next assembly polls are just seven to eight months away.

Jitin Prasad likely to be nominated MLC soon 

Former union minister and two times for Congress Lok Sabha member Jitin Prasada who joined BJP on June 9, is likely to be soon nominated as MLC. Out of the four vacancies for nominated MLCs in the state, one is set to go Prasada’s way.

According to sources, two of the four nominations could be of upper caste individuals (one of them being Brahmin politician Jitin Prasada) while remaining two might include one each from OBC and SC segment.