Cabinet expansion, code for BJP’s political arithmetic in assembly polls?

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Updated: July 06, 2016 1:54 PM

In one of the biggest political moves by Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister expanded his cabinet with the induction of 19 new faces and promoting Prakash Javadekar as a Cabinet Minister.

From the 19 new ministers, 17 belong to the BJP while two are from NDA allies, Apna Dal and RPI. The revamp saw 78 cabinet ministers from 66 with six minister dropped by Narendra Modi. (PTI)From the 19 new ministers, 17 belong to the BJP while two are from NDA allies, Apna Dal and RPI. The revamp saw 78 cabinet ministers from 66 with six minister dropped by Narendra Modi. (PTI)

In one of the biggest political moves by Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister expanded his cabinet with the induction of 19 new faces and promoting Prakash Javadekar as a Cabinet Minister.

From the 19 new ministers, 17 belong to the BJP while two are from NDA allies, Apna Dal and RPI. The revamp saw 78 cabinet ministers from 66 with six minister dropped by Narendra Modi.

Among the newly-inducted ministers, five belong to the Dalit community, three to Scheduled Tribes (ST) while two belong to the OBC community. The induction of ministers mostly from the backward community provides a peek into Narendra Modi’s focus to expand support base, especially in UP, in the Uttar Pradesh elections in 2017 and the assembly elections in 2019.

Even though BSP’s Mayawati garners vote mostly from the Dalit community in the state, BJP is focusing on chasing the OBC, Muslim and upper caste votes in UP, especially with 100 out of 403 assembly seats in the eastern UP.

With four Union Ministers from UP, BJP is making all efforts to win majority seats in the 2017 assembly polls. Deora MP Kalraj Mishra,  Ghazipur MP Manoj Sinha and two new entrants Apna Dal MP from Mirzapur, Anupriya Patel and BJP MP from Chaundauli, Mahendra Nath Pandey are the faces from eastern UP representing the ruling government.

Even though Apna Dal secured a representation in the Union Ministry, the internal feud within the party and the two divided camps, led by Anupriya and her mother Krishna Patel still continues with the party.

Besides UP elections, BJP is also trying to get a strong grip in Punjab with the induction of SS Ahluwalia as the Cabinet Minister. The elevation of MJ Akbar as Union Minister, is also expected to woo Muslim votes in BJP’s favour.

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