Modi 3.0: BJP strikes caste, regional balance in inducting ministers from U.P. - Hindustan Times
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Modi 3.0: BJP strikes caste, regional balance in inducting ministers from U.P.

By, Lucknow
Jun 10, 2024 06:40 AM IST

10 ministers from state, including Hardeep Puri who is a Rajya Sabha MP from UP, figure in Union council of ministers

The breach in the OBC-Dalit rainbow coalition in the 2024 Lok Sabha election has been the focus of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) while inducting ministers from Uttar Pradesh in the Modi 3.0 government.

East, West and Central U.P.got representation in the Union council of ministers. (Agency)
East, West and Central U.P.got representation in the Union council of ministers. (Agency)

Among the nine ministers who figured in the Union council of ministers from the state on Sunday, four are from OBC communities—Kurmi, Lodhi and Jat—considered traditional support base of the BJP, while two are from Dalit—Pasi and Dhangar—communities. The remaining three ministers are from upper castes Rajput and Brahmin communities. The 10th Hardeep Singh Puri, who was sworn in as the Union minister, is a Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh.

The MPs belonging to OBC-Dalit communities are Pankaj Chaudhary, BL Verma, SP Singh Baghel, Anupriya Patel, Jayant Chaudhary and Kamlesh Paswan, who have hold over the respective community, have been given place in the Union council of ministers along with upper castes Rajput and Brahmin MPs considered traditional support base of the BJP. They include Rajnath Singh, Jitin Prasada and Kirti Vardhan Singh.

Along with caste, regional balance has also been given priority with East, West and Central U.P. getting representation in the council of ministers. The nine faces from Uttar Pradesh reflect a combination of caste, educational and political experience. The MPs working at the grassroot have also got ministerial berths.

The BJP allies the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and the Apna Dal (S) that maintained hold over their OBC support base despite a strong challenge by the INDIA bloc are there in the council of ministers.

RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary, who enjoys hold over the OBC Jat community in West UP has been inducted along with Apna Dal (S) chief Anupriya Patel whose party has hold over the OBC- Kurmi community in East UP.

The fall in BJP’s seats in Uttar Pradesh from 62 in 2019 Lok Sabha election to 33 in the 2024 election reflected as the number of ministers in the council of minister declined from 14 (including PM Narendra Modi) in Modi 2.0 cabinet to 10 in the 3rd Modi government.

Seven ministers lost in the 2024 LS election while five, including PM Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh, Pankaj Chaudhary, SP Singh Baghel and Anupriya Patel secured victory. Two ministers, including Hardeep Singh Puri and BL Verma, are Rajya Sabha members.

Cabinet minister in the Modi 3.0 government Rajnath Singh 72, a three-term MP from Lucknow, has long administrative and organisational experience as Union home and defence ministers, as CM UP and as national BJP president. A confidant of PM Modi, he holds a master’s degree in physics from DDU Gorakhpur University.

Union minister of state (independent charge) Jayant Chaudhary, who is RLD chief, has become a minister for the first time. A Rajya Sabha member, Jayant ,45, has a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and has hold over Jat community in West Uttar Pradesh.

A seven-term Lok Sabha MP from Maharajganj seat of Uttar Pradesh, Pankaj Chaudhary, who served as an MoS in the Modi 2.0 government, has again been inducted as the MoS in Modi 3.0 government.

A prominent OBC face of the BJP in East UP, Chaudhary, 59, has hold over the Kurmi community. He is a graduate from DDU Gorakhpur University.

Jitin Prasada, who had been a cabinet minister in the Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh till now, has found place in Modi 3.0 government after winning Pilibhit seat. Prasada, 50, is a post graduate in management.

Apna Dal (S) national president Anupriya Patel, 43, is the only woman among the nine ministers from Uttar Pradesh.

A graduate from Delhi’s Lady Shri Ram (LSR) College and also an MBA, Anupriya was a teacher prior to joining politics. She represents the Kurmi community and is the third term MP from Mirzapur constituency.

SP Singh Baghel, who won for the second time from Agra, comes from Dalit-Dhangar/Baghel— community. He has been retained as a Union MoS. A Ph.D. in military science, Baghel, 63, started his political career from the Samajwadi Party. Later, he switched to the BSP and before the 2014 Lok Sabha election defected to the BJP.

Rajya Sabha MP BL Verma, 61, a postgraduate and former chief of the party’s Braj region in western Uttar Pradesh, belongs to the Lodh community and is considered to be a protégé of former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh. He retained his position as the MoS in the Modi 3.0 government.

Another Union MoS Kirti Vardhan Singh, 58, who secured third consecutive victory from the Gonda Lok Sabha seat in 2024, had won on an SP ticket in the 1998 and 2004 parliamentary elections. An M.Sc. in geology from the Lucknow University, Singh belongs to erstwhile Mankapur estate in Gonda.

A Dalit face of the BJP in East Uttar Pradesh and four-term MP from Bansgaon seat in Gorakhpur, Kamlesh Paswan comes from Schedule Caste (Pasi) community.

Paswan, 47, a graduate from DDU Gorakhpur University joined the BJP and contested 2009 Lok Sabha election from Bansgaon constituency. He has been representing the constituency in the Lower House of Parliament since then.

SK Dwivedi, former head of political science department in Lucknow University, said, “The lion’s share of the ministers from U.P. going to OBC and Dalits clearly indicates that the BJP has done a balancing of the caste in the ministry. In the 2024 Lok Sabha election campaign, the BJP did not address the caste priorities and the move of the INDIA bloc to mobilise non- Yadav OBCs and Dalits. Now, they have tried to strike a balance of caste in the formation of the new government at the Centre.”

“The 2024 poll results clearly show that caste factor will be decisive for political parties in elections. Modi has taken consideration of the OBC- Dalit caste factor in his council of ministers,” he added.

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