The state capital got the lion’s share in the new government with seven leaders from the city inducted into the council of ministers on Sunday. This is perhaps Lucknow’s highest representation in the state council of ministers. In the Akhilesh Yadav regime, three MLAs from the city became ministers.
The Lucknow representatives in the new government include Dinesh Sharma (deputy CM), Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Brajesh Pathak, Ashutosh Tandon, Swati Singh, Dr Mahendra Singh, MLC, and former cricketer Mohsin Raza. Joshi, Pathak and Tandon have been given cabinet berths. Swati Singh was sworn in as minister of state (independent charge). Dr Mahendra Singh and Mohsin Raza are ministers of state. Joshi quit the Congress and joined the BJP in October last year. Pathak switched loyalties from the BSP to the BJP in August last year.
From a strategic perspective, giving the lion’s share of ministries to representatives from Lucknow may have political ramifications in the next Lok Sabha election in 2019.
“This would help Lucknow realise the immense potential it has from a business perspective. Given the cultural assimilation that Lucknow provides, perhaps it will help the rest of the state to see what inclusiveness and development can achieve,” said Himanshu Rai, professor of Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow.
“Lucknow which is a messy city and doesn’t look like the capital of the most populous state, needs big surgeries. Minor touch-ups won’t do. With these many ministers, we have every reason to look up and feel optimistic,” said Manoj Dixit, professor of Lucknow University.
“It is quite natural that we look forward to great Lucknow, grand Lucknow and beautiful Lucknow. Lucknow University is also lucky as it has got a good share. Except Rita, all have had their higher education in the university,” Dixit said.
The cabinet has a fair combination of young and experienced representatives from various regions.
“Women have also found a place which is heartening,” said Nishi Pandey, professor at Lucknow University.
Veteran leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s presence in the cabinet brings experience to the table. Accommodating first-time MLA Swati Singh will give her the needed exposure to governance.
Pandey adds, “Since Lucknow is the hub of political activity in the state, citizens can have access to their representatives for issues that need immediate redressal on a daily basis. What needs to be seen is if these ministers are accessible and can make a difference. It will be a litmus test for how approachable and effective the government will be in redressing grievances at the local level.”
“Lucknowites are hopeful that chief minister Yogi Adityanath will take the state to new heights of development, upholding the motto “sabka saath sabka Vikas,” says Geetika Kapoor, principal of St Teresa College, Ashiana.
Giving Lucknow the lion’s share in the ministry should keep the government on its toes and it will have to deliver to retain its credibility and claims of being connected to the grass roots,” said Pandey.