Party leaders from the state think that the step has been taken to compensate for the exit of Kalraj Mishra, a prominent Brahmin MP from the area. BJP leaders say that Shukla does not share a very cordial relationship with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) move to elevate Rajya Sabha member Shiv Pratap Shukla as a Minister of State (MoS) in the Union Cabinet is seen as an attempt to balance power equations in the Gorakhpur region of Uttar Pradesh. Party leaders from the state think that the step has been taken to compensate for the exit of Kalraj Mishra, a prominent Brahmin MP from the area. BJP leaders say that Shukla does not share a very cordial relationship with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Shukla had won 4 consecutive state assembly elections from Gorakhpur Sadar in 199, 1991, 1993 and 1996 on a BJP ticket. He had also served in the state cabinet of the party and was said to be a very influential Brahmin leader, according to an Indian Express report.
Shiv Pratap Shukla’s star began to change after he lost the 2002 elections to Radha Mohan Das Agrawal, a nominee of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha. BJP sources say that Yogi Adityanath had openly put his weight behind Agrawal, although BJP had fielded Shukla as their candidate. Even the then Prime Minister PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and then UP CM Rajnath Singh addressed rallies in support of Shukla, IE reported.
Agrawal later joined the BJP and contested and won assembly polls in 2007, 2012 and 2017 with Adityanath’s support. Shukla did not contest any of these elections and became the Vice President of BJP’s state unit for three terms, a post he still holds. A BJP leader in Gorakhpur told the Indian Express ”Shukla continued to work for the party even after losing the 2002 polls. Now he has been rewarded with a Cabinet berth. Shukla has attended Adityanath’s events in Gorakhpur after the latter was sworn in as the Chief Minister”.