Yogi expands cabinet to set caste equations right

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath expands cabinet to set caste equations right before polls

Prasada's inclusion in the ministry was apparently aimed at countering the perceived resentment in the Brahmin community

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath. Credit: PTI File Photo

In an apparent bid to set the caste equations right ahead of the forthcoming assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, due in six months time, chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday expanded his cabinet by inducting seven new faces, including former Congress leader Jitin Prasada.

The seven ministers, who were administered the oath of office and secrecy by governor Anandiben Patel at Raj Bhavan, included Prasada (Brahmin), Paltu Ram, Sangeeta Bind and Sanjeev Gond (SC), Chatrapal Gangwar, Dinesh Khatik and Dharmveer Prajapati (all OBCs).

Read | Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi carries out first Cabinet expansion, inducts 15 Ministers, 7 new faces

While Prasada was made a cabinet minister, all the others were made ministers of state. Prasada had crossed over to the BJP from Congress a few months back and his inclusion in the ministry was apparently aimed at countering the perceived resentment in the Brahmin community.

Besides the inclusion of ministers from SC, ST and OBC communities was also intended to woo the non-jatav Dalits and sections of the OBC, which were in sizable strength in pockets across the state.

The expansion comes within days of an electoral alliance between the BJP, Nishad Party and the Apna Dal. Union minister and party's UP in-charge Dharmendra Pradhan had then said that some other smaller outfits were also in touch with the saffron party and that they might also be included in the alliance.

Political analysts here said that the cabinet rejig barely six months before the assembly polls was also an attempt to offset the possible loss of jat votes owing mainly to the ongoing agitation by the farmers of western UP region against the new farm laws.

The opposition parties termed the cabinet expansion a 'desperate' attempt to gain electoral mileage in the forthcoming polls. "It is nothing but an attempt to hide the failure of the state government on all fronts... it will not help the BJP gain peoples' support," Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav said.

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