Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to drop Union minister of state for human resource development Ram Shankar Katheria from the cabinet has not come as a surprise for many in his constituency.
After being elected for the second time from Agra, Katheria’s rise has been mercurial. Despite a setback, his supporters are confident he will be compensated with a senior post in the party ahead of assembly elections in the state. Some even feel he could be the face of the party in the elections.
Political pundits say that Katheria was included in the cabinet as the Dalit face and now his replacement by Shahjahanpur MP Krishna Raj, another Dalit leader, indicates party’s focus on caste politics. Known for making controversial statements, Katheria joined the RSS in the eighties and entered mainstream politics in 2005. He was fielded as the BJP candidate from Agra in 2009 Lok Sabha elections, which he won.
He was declared the party candidate for the second time in 2014.