Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav expanded his cabinet on Monday with 10 more ministers including Prajapati Gayatri Prasad whom he had sacked earlier this month during the Samajwadi Party’s internal feud.
Akhilesh also played the Brahmin card re-inducting two of them into the cabinet. The two--Manoj Pandey and Shivakant Ojha--had also been sacked earlier.
Of the 10 who took oath as ministers on Monday, four were newly inducted while six others were elevated from their minister of state position.
The swearing-in of the new ministers was conducted at Raj Bhavan by Governor Ram Naik.
Akhilesh dropped minister of state Laxmikant Nishad to maintain the ceiling of 60 in the council of ministers.
Ziauddin Rizvi who could not take oath on June 24 also took oath as a cabinet minister.
Ministers of state - Abhishek Mishra, Narendra Verma and Shankh Lal Majhi were elevated as cabinet ministers.
The 10 new ministers include Riyaz Ahmad, Yasser Shah and Ravidas Mehrotra.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, senior ministers and officers were present at the swearing in ceremony.
The expansion had a stamp of the old guard -- Mulayam and his brother Shivpal Singh, as the duo has overturned the sacking of three ministers, including Prajapati, who was accused of being involved in illegal mining and land grabbing.
The chief minister’s sacking of Prajapati was seen as a bold step but he finally gave in to Mulayam’s commands.
It remains to be seen whether Akhilesh’s gamble of Brahmin faces will pay off. The BJP, BSP and the Congress have been wooing Brahmins ahead of the state assembly polls, slated for early 2017.
But it is only the Congress which has announced a Brahmin – Sheila Dikshit as chief ministerial candidate.