Yogi to expand UP Cabinet to balance caste aspirations

Yogi to expand UP Cabinet in a bid to balance caste, regional aspirations

The names of Jitin Prasada, Baby Rani Maurya and many others are doing the rounds

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath. Credit: PTI File Photo

Attempting to balance caste and regional aspiration, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will expand his ministry on Sunday evening, months ahead of the crucial assembly polls.

The swearing-in ceremony is scheduled at Gandhi Auditorium in the Raj Bhavan at 5.30 pm, officials said. Officials, however, remained tight-lipped over the number and names of ministers to be sworn in as the name of Congress Brahmin leader Jitin Prasada — who switched over to the saffron party — is doing the rounds.

UP Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma had recently told PTI that inspired by the work of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prasada wanted to join the BJP much earlier. Prasada had been inducted into the BJP amid its internal worries about the thin representation of the community in the party. Repeated efforts to contact Prasada proved futile.

Sanjay Nishad's name, whose party NISHAD — Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal — will contest the 2022 UP assembly elections in alliance with the BJP is also making rounds. Nishad was in the news recently for his demand from the BJP to project him as a deputy chief minister face in the elections. He had claimed that 18 per cent of voters belong to Nishad (fishermen) community which plays a deciding role on 160 assembly seats.

Also Read | Ahead of polls, Uttar Pradesh's cabinet expansion today

The Nishad Party had contested the 2017 assembly elections as an ally of the Peace Party, led by Dr Ayub, and contested 72 seats. Its candidate Vijay Mishra had won from Gyanpur seat in Bhadohi district. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the party had allied with the BJP and Sanjay Nishad's son Praveen Nishad was nominated from Sant Kabir Nagar from where he won the elections.

Apart from this, the name of former Uttarakhand Governor Baby Rani Maurya is also doing the rounds as a probable face for induction in the Yogi Adityanath ministry. There are 53 ministers in the UP Cabinet at present and seven more can be inducted as per the constitutional limit.

At present, there are 23 Cabinet ministers in UP including the chief minister. There are nine ministers of state with independent charges and there are 21 ministers of state. The maximum strength of the UP Cabinet can be 15 per cent of the total strength of its Assembly. The Uttar Pradesh Assembly has 403 seats.

In the 2017 UP Assembly elections, the BJP had won 312 seats out of the 403 seats. Its ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) had won nine seats. The Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) too had contested the 2017 assembly polls in alliance with the BJP and had won four seats but it had walked out of the alliance in 2019.

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