After Modi ministry expansion, focus shifts to possibility of Yogi cabinet reshuffle in Uttar Pradesh
There are seven vacancies in the Uttar Pradesh council of ministers. The previous reshuffle in the state was carried out in August 2019
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi carried out a major expansion of his council of ministers, the focus is shifting to chief minister Yogi Adityanath in connection with the long- pending cabinet reshuffle that he may carry out ahead of the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.
As barely six to seven months will be left for the new ministers to show their performance following the possible reshuffle, Yogi Adityanath would have to weigh his options before he decides to undertake the exercise.
There are already seven vacancies in the council of ministers in Uttar Pradesh.
The previous cabinet reshuffle in the state was on August 21, 2019.
The chief minister may use the opportunity to reward good work, act against non-performers and strike a caste and regional balance. Although PM Modi’s move of inducting seven ministers from UP has helped in giving representation to various castes and regions, a rejig in the UP ministry will make a fresh impact.
“Yes, there is the likelihood of a cabinet reshuffle in UP, too, in the coming days. Prime Minister Narendra Modi kept the performance of the ministers in focus as he carried out the reshuffle, giving representation to various caste and regions. Any reshuffle in UP is bound to have performance in focus as this will create an impact among the voters too,” said SK Dwivedi, former head of department political science at Lucknow University. Senior BJP leaders were not available for comment on the matter.
Yogi’s challenges will be greater if he decides to make performance the criteria for the possible reshuffle. Prime Minister dropped Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and shifted his minister of state Ashwini Kumar Choubey apparently over mismanagement during the second wave of Covid-19. The Opposition has targeted the Yogi government too for mismanagement of Covid-19 in the state.
Three ministers, Kamla Rani Varun, Chetan Chauhan and Vijay Kashyap, died while fighting Covid-19.
Veteran Bareilly MP Santosh Gangwar, who was then a Union minister, and UP minister for law Brijesh Pathak had raised the issue of Covid-19 management as did some other BJP leaders.
PM Modi’s moves are generally followed by the BJP-ruled states. As Yogi too has been following the PM’s moves on important issues, it remains to be seen whether Yogi will carry out changes in the health department team in the state.
The chief minister will also face the challenge of balancing caste and regional equations. Apna Dal (Sone Lal) MP Anupriya Patel’s induction in the union ministry is being viewed as the BJP’s attempt to keep its close ally and the Kurmi community in good humour. The Nishad Party has been one of the BJP’s allies and is now feeling left out for not getting any place in the Union ministry. Nishad Party leader Sanjay Nishad’s meetings with Union home minister Amit Shah and the chief minister had led to speculation about likely representation for the party in the ministry at the Centre or in the state. Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), one of the BJP’s allies in past, has parted ways with it. SBSP chief and former minister Om Prakash Rajbhar has been targeting the BJP. The BJP may have to rework its plans to counter the SBSP’s attempts to wean the Rajbhar community away from the party.
The BJP had given indications about its renewed focus on Brahmins when former Union minister Jitin Prasada joined the party from the Congress. Prasada has met the chief minister more than once after joining his new party. It also remains to be seen whether the BJP will accommodate Prasada in state ministry or make use of him in the party organisation.