With BJP setting its eyes on the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, three new faces from the politically crucial state were today inducted into the Union Council of Ministers.
A total of seven out of 19 ministers inducted were from the Dalit community which accounted for around 20 per cent of the total electorate in Uttar Pradesh. The community plays a decisive role in electoral outcome in a number of constituencies in the state.
The fresh faces inducted as Minister of State from UP are Anupriya Patel, Krishna Raj and Mahendra Nath Pandey.
Patel is leader of BJP’s UP ally Apna Dal and while Raj and Pandey are prominent Dalit and Brahmin faces respectively of the party in the state.
Minister of State Ram Shankar Katheria, who represents Agra constituency in UP, was dropped from the Council of Ministers.
The Dalit MPs inducted as Minister of State are Ajay Tamta, Ramdas Athalwale, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Ramesh Jigajinagi, Raj, Jaswant Sinh Bhabhor and Faggan Singh Kulaste.
Pandey has a PhD from Banaras Hindu University while Patel, an MP from Mirzapur, comes with a strong academic background and known to have impressive organisational skills.
The Cabinet ministers hailing from UP are Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Kalraj Mishra.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi represents Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency of UP while Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is a Rajya Sabha MP from the state.
The ministers of state with independent charge in the Council of Ministers from UP are V K Singh, Santosh Kumar Gangwar and Mahesh Sharma.