Yogi balances caste combo in Cabinet with 18 new faces

Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath with the newly inducted ministers Uday Bhan Singh (hands raised), Suresh Rana and Mahendra Singh after their swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhawan in Lucknow, Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019.

With an eye on the next assembly polls in 2022, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday expanded his cabinet inducting 18 new faces.

Five ministers of state were promoted to the cabinet rank in the reshuffle. UP governor Anandiben Patel administered the oath of office and secrecy to all the new ministers at Rajbhavan here.

The new ministers included six Brahmins, two Thakurs, three each from Vaisya and SC communities, two each from Jat and Kurmi community and one each from five different OBC communities.

With Wednesday's expansion, the Yogi cabinet now has 56 ministers. The state can have a maximum of 60 ministers.

The chief minister had on Tuesday night accepted the resignations of five ministers. Those who tendered their resignations included the state finance minister Rajesh Agarwal.

Muzaffarnagar riot-accused Suresh Rana, who was a minister of state, was promoted to the cabinet rank. Rana was likely to be given an important portfolio, sources said.

State BJP leaders here said that the attempt was made to give representation to the different castes apparently keeping the next assembly polls in mind.

Adityanath had on Tuesday held a meeting with senior BJP functionaries and RSS leaders here to finalise the names of the new ministers. Sources said that the chief minister was asked to make sure that the eastern and Bundelkhand regions were adequately represented in the cabinet.

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