Election-bound Uttar Pradesh is likely to dominate the much-awaited Union Cabinet expansion on Tuesday. The expansion will chiefly reflect the BJP’s strategy in the crucial state from where the party has its maximum MPs (71), along with 2 from its ally Apna Dal, thereby taking the total to a staggering 73 out of the total 80.
Thirteen ministers, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, MP from Varanasi, himself are in the Union cabinet, which also includes home minister Rajnath Singh, the MP from Lucknow. It’s likely that with the induction of new faces, some ministers from UP might lose their job.
According to state BJP insiders, the new faces that will be inducted by Modi will definitely demonstrate the intricate rainbow politics of caste combinations that the party is looking to woo. One name that is strongly doing the rounds is that of Anupriya Patel, the Lok Sabha MP from the BJP’s UP ally Apna Dal. Daughter of Late Sone Lal Patel, Anupriya has a very strong chance of being a face in the cabinet expansion if one goes by the indication that only two days back, party national president Amit Shah attended the ‘Jan Swabhiman rally’, organised by Apna Dal to mark the 67th birth anniversary of its founder Sone Lal Patel.
“Patel belongs to the backward Kurmi caste, and it is very important for the BJP to get their votes, especially in the backdrop of the fact that Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, a Kurmi himself, has been eying the vote bank and has already started campaigning in eastern UP,” said sources, adding that Shah had at the rally, accused Nitish Kumar of being a “vote katwa” as he felt the Bihar CM was trying to divide the votes and stop BJP from getting the benefit.
Yet another likely face in the expansion could be Lok Sabha member Mahendra Pandey, who is said to have met Amit Shah on Monday. “Pandey is a Brahmin, and like in any other elections in UP, this time too, they are a big vote bank in the state, which all parties are tying to woo.”