Eastern Uttar Pradesh claimed the largest chunk in the Uttar Pradesh council of ministers that is a careful concoction of leaders of different castes, regions and ages.
Sixteen of the state’s 44 ministers come from eastern UP – where chief minister Yogi Adityanath hails from – while the communally volatile west UP has 14 members in the council. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Adityanath and deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya all are lawmakers from east UP and the party has made it clear that the Purvanachal region would be in focus in the next general election.
Twelve MLAs from central UP -- where the BJP consolidated its victory by breaching strongholds of the Congress in Rae Bareli, Samajawadi Party in Kannauj and Bahujan Samaj Party in Ambedkar Nagar – also berths. But the impoverished Bundelkhand region found just one Dalit MLA in the cabinet despite the BJP sweeping the region with 19 seats.
The backward and upper caste support, which played a pivotal role in the BJP’s victory, was reflected the in the state cabinet. Ten MLAs from OBC community, eight Rajputs and eight Brahmins were included in the cabinet. That the BJP was working on a social engineering formula of consolidating upper caste- backward- Dalit was clear with the induction of four MLAs from Vaishya community, five Dalits, three Khatri, three Kurmi, one Lodh, two Bhumihars and two Jat MLAs in the cabinet.
To give a message to the women voters that supported the BJP cutting across caste lines, the BJP inducted five women MLAs- Rita Bahguna Joshi, Swati Singh, Gulab Devi, Anupama Jaiswal and Archana Pandey in the cabinet.
The saffron leadership also appeared to strike a caste balance by appointing a Thakur as CM and an OBC and Brahmin as deputy CMs.
The council of state ministers also reflected a mix of age and experience. At 26, Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh’s grandson Sandeep, a first-time lawmaker was the youngest member while Bareilly Cantt MLA Rajesh Agarwal, 73, was the oldest.
Only four ministers – Swati Singh, 38, MLA from Sarojininagar, Nand Gopal Nandi, 42, the Allahabad (south) MLA and Jaunpur’s Girish Chandra Yadav, 43 along with Sandeep Singh were younger than Yogi, 44.
Along with the two deputy chief ministers, there are 15 ministers who are between 45 years to 60 years. About a dozen ministers have criminal cases against them with Nand Gopal Nandi and SPS Baghel leading the pack with seven cases each while the rest have one or two cases against them. As far as academic qualifications go, the least educated is Dara Singh, a class X pass.
Dynasty has also come into play – Sandeep Singh, grandson of Rajsthan governor Kalyan Singh, Ashutosh Tandon, son of senior BJP leader Lalji Tandon and Rita Bahuguna Joshi, daughter of veteran Congress leader Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna have found way to the cabinet.