Former Uttar Pradesh minister Shiv Pratap Shukla brings with him a rich organisational as well as ministerial experience to the Union Cabinet. 65-year-old Shukla hails from Gorakhpur – the citadel of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The induction of Shukla, who is a Brahmin face of the party, is being seen as a well-calculated move of the ruling BJP to reap dividends in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections by keeping the upper caste in good humour.
Born in Khajni, Rudrapur in Uttar Pradesh, a village near Gorakhpur district to a middle-class family, Shukla completed his graduation in law from the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gorakhpur University. His political life started in the early 1970s when he was the student leader of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), and in 1981, was elected as the Provincial Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM).
He was jailed several times during his student days. During Emergency, he was arrested under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and was in prison for 19 months from 1975 to 1977.
The 65-year-old is known for his work as the Cabinet minister in Uttar Pradesh, where he initiated an ‘education for all’ scheme and for his efforts to reform conditions for prisoners and various rural development schemes. A member of the Rajya Sabha representing Uttar Pradesh, he becomes a central minister for the first time. He was appointed vice president of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh in February, 2012.
Shukla campaigned in the General Elections in 1989 and was elected a member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly for the first time. He was elected as a member of the legislative assembly four consecutive times in 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1996. He was appointed as a state minister in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led governments in Uttar Pradesh.
He became a minister for jails in 1996-1998 under the Bharatiya Janata Party-Bahujan Samaj Party rule, a short-lived coalition government of Mayawati and Kalyan Singh, and was later appointed as the minister for rural development in 1998 under Rajnath Singh-led BJP government.
Before this tenure, he also held a ministerial post during the Kalyan Singh-led BJP government of 1991-1992.