Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has sought to strike regional and caste balance in his 47-member council of ministers that includes two deputy chief ministers. There are at least 17 ministers from eastern UP, where BJP has made inroads this time, 12 are from western part of the state and 11 from the central region. There are three Dalits and 26 ministers hailing from upper castes. The rest belong to OBCs, like Kurmi and Rajbhar. Senior UP BJP leaders are of the view that the party, which has had loyal support from the upper castes, needs to focus on the new vote bank also in the state in the run up to 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The balancing act of the party can also be seen in its choice of two deputy CMs – one of them is a backward caste leader, while the other is a Brahmin. The CM himself is a Rajput. Addressing a press conference this evening, Adityanath also said that the party’s motto of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ (with all, development for all) was reflected during the swearing-in ceremony. One of the Dalits is S P Singh Baghel, who has been made a cabinet minister. The under-developed Bundelkhand region will be represented in the ministry by Swatantra Dev Singh, who is not a member of the UP legislature, and Mannu Kori, MLA from Mehroni in Lalitpur district.
Though BJP did not field any Muslim candidate in the 403 seats, the chief minister today included cricketer-turned- politician Mohsin Raza as Minister of State. Though Raza is not a legislator, he was picked up to head the Minority Affairs, Haj and Waqfs ministry which has never been presided by a non-Muslim. Baldev Singh Aulakh, a Sikh, who got elected from Bilaspur also took oath as minister of state.
While taking other backward castes and most backward castes along, the chief minister appeared to have ensured that it should not antagonise the upper castes. The party has also given ministerial berths to some of its prominent faces in television debates like Shrikant Sharma and Siddhartha Nath Singh, who were elected from Mathura and Allahabad-West respectively. Political greenhorns and a number of turncoats too got ministerial berths.Swami Prasad Maurya, a former BSP leader and Cabinet minister during Mayawati’s regime, and former UP Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi were sworn in as ministers.
Former BSP MP Brijesh Pathak, who won from Lucknow Central, and former BSP minister Nand Gopal Gupta ‘Nandi’, won from Allahabad South, also got ministerial berths. Former BSP leader Dara Singh Chauhan has also been included in Adityanath’s team.
All of them have been made cabinet ministers. Former minister in BSP government Dharam Singh Saini has become a minister of state.