The Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in Uttar Pradesh went ahead with its final cabinet expansion ahead of the assembly election in 2022.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has included seven new faces in his cabinet, keeping in mind caste calculations, including one Brahmin, three OBC (other backward class), two SC (scheduled caste) and one ST (scheduled tribe). The main reason behind the cabinet expansion is seen as an attempt to give space to members from smaller communities, who may not have political clout but can influence results in many assembly constituencies.
Among the new faces, Brahmin face and Congress turncoat Jitin Prasada, who recently joined the BJP from Congress, has been included as a cabinet minister. The BJP is said to be facing the wrath of Brahmins in some pockets of the state. So, the party wants to send out a strong message to its traditional voters through Prasada, who is said to have a lot of influence in Shahjahanpur region.
Another inducted minister, Dinesh Khatik from the SC community, is an MLA from Hastinapur in Meerut. The Khatik community has a decent vote bank in many assemblies of UP from west to central and east.
Bareilly MLA Chhatrapal Gangwar, who was also inducted in the Yogi cabinet on Sunday, hails from the Kurmi community. Sometime back, Santosh Gangwar was relieved from the Centre, so now an attempt is being made to channelise Kurmi votes by giving place to Chhatrapal. Agra’s Dharamveer Prajapati is said to have been inducted to woo Prajapati voters. Meanwhile, the BJP has made an attempt to keep tribal community connected with the party by inducting Sanjeev Kumar, who comes from the Gond community in Sonbhadra region.
Another name inducted in the Yogi cabinet is that of Paltu Ram, who is also from the SC community. The Jatavs have a lot of influence in western and central Uttar Pradesh. BSP chief Mayawati also comes from the Jatav community, so by giving place to Paltu Ram, an attempt has been made to attract the Jatav community.
After announcing an alliance with Nishad party on Saturday, the BJP, in an attempt to cement the bond, has announced the induction of Sangeeta Balwant Bind in the Yogi cabinet. There are around 100 seats in the state where Nishad voters are present in decent numbers.
The opposition, however, has attacked the BJP-led government and called the cabinet rejig “drama”. Samajwadi Party chief and former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said, “The cabinet expansion of the BJP government of UP is also a hoax. Today, a drama is being created to represent those who didn’t get their due in four and a half years… The concluding point of the BJP drama has started,” tweeted Akhilesh.