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Seniors sullen with UP cabinet expansion

Mayawati's cabinet expansion has left many BSP MLAs, especially the seniors, bitter, reports Masoodul Hasan.
Hindustan Times | By Masoodul Hasan, Lucknow
UPDATED ON OCT 19, 2007 01:09 AM IST

A day after expanding her five-month government, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Thursday allotted portfolios to the new inductees, making an effort to bring about regional and caste balance. Addressing MLAs and MPs in Lucknow, she explained in detail the reasons for the induction of each MLA. But the shake-up has left many BSP MLAs, especially the seniors, bitter.

Like in her preparation for the Assembly election, caste played a vital role in Mayawati's expansion exercise. Of the 10 inductions, including the elevation of four ministers of state to cabinet rank, the CM chose three Dalits, two Brahmins, two Thakurs and a Vaishya, Yadav and Muslim each.

Of the total 30 BSP Muslim MLAs, only four made it to the ministry at the time of its formation in May. Minister Nasimuddin Siddique is a member of the Upper House. Nawab Kazim Ali Khan, a scion of the Rampur royal family who had resigned from the Samajwadi Party to join the BSP and recently won the by-election from Swartada (Rampur), failed to make it.

Mayawati has tried to keep the Brahmin community in good humour by elevating Ranganath Mishra and Anant Kumar Mishra, both considered close to the CM's confidant SC Mishra, to cabinet rank. Siddique also succeeded in getting Abdul Mannan elevated to the same.

While allocating portfolios, Mayawati appointed trusted lieutenant Kamla Kant Gautam as finance minister. Interestingly, it is after nearly a decade that the state is getting a full-fledged finance minister.

After Harishji Shrivastav in 1997, successive chief ministers had kept the portfolio with themselves. Gautam is a member of the Upper House and was leader of the BSP's legislature party during the Mulayam Singh Yadav regime.

The CM divested minister Nakul Dubey of the important department of institutional finance, giving it to newly appointed minister Nand Gopal Gupta. Nand Gopal, a Bania, is also the state's trade tax minister. His appointment comes at a time when the government has decided to introduce value added tax and the entire trading community is agitating against its implementation.

Badshah Singh was made labour minister in place of Vedram Bhati, and the department of secondary education was shifted from Thakur Jaivir Singh to Rangnath Mishra.

Bhati and Jaivir Singh are now ministers without portfolios. Anant Kumar Mishra, elevated from minister of state (independent) to cabinet rank, will continue to hold the health and medical portfolio while Mannan is now minister for science and technology. Chandra Deo Ram Yadav and Ashok Kumar were given small-scale industry and land development and water resources, respectively.

The labour and employment department has been bifurcated to accommodate Bhagwati Prasad Sagar as minister of state (Independent) for employment. Flood control and water planning, part of the irrigation portfolio, has been taken away from Siddique and given to Jaivir Singh.

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